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EAC Resumes Operations After Two Months Delay :: Uganda Radionetwork
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EAC Resumes Operations After Two Months Delay

Before the meeting, Members of the East African Legislative Assembly threatened to boycott the sittings over arrears including delayed salaries of three months. The legislators also claim up to USD 2 million for the meetings they have attended online since the pandemic broke out, including USD 400 each as transport and USD 160 for sitting allowance.
03 Sep 2020 18:48

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The East African Community’s normal operations have resumed after the Legislative Assembly, EALA, approved a vote on account of almost USD 19.7 million, at a virtual meeting, after a two-month delay.   

The vote will support the normal operations and cater for expenses of the EAC in the first quarter of the current Financial Year, as it awaits the main budget.

The bulk of the money, USD 9 million, will go to the Secretariat, while EALA will take USD 5.3 million slightly a quarter of the mini-budget. The rest of the funds are allocated to the East African Court of Justice, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, the East African Science and Technology Commission, the  East African Kiswahili Commission, the East African Health Research Commission and the East African Competition Authority.    

Before the meeting, Members of the East African Legislative Assembly threatened to boycott the sittings over arrears including delayed salaries of three months. The legislators also claim up to USD  2 million for the meetings they have attended online since the pandemic broke out, including USD 400 each as transport and USD 160 for sitting allowance.

These are the rates they were being paid when sitting in Arusha, Tanzania or rotating around the member countries. The secretariat has not, however, indicated whether the claims by the MPs had been or will be met.

The Vote-on Account was preceded by a Resolution of the Assembly to constitute itself into a Committee of Supply to consider and approve it, in a first such activity for the EAC.  There were concerns about the delays of activities due to the restrictions put in place by the partner states to control the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as poor response by some to meet their financial obligations to the community.        

The financial issues that the community has recently faced are due to the failure of countries to keep up-to-date with their financial obligations. Specifically, by June, Burundi owed the community 15 million dollars, while South Sudan has arrears of 27 million dollars.   Each member country is required to pay an annual fee of 8 million dollars. 

Rwandan Representative Fatuma Ndagiza urged the Council of Ministers to ensure Partner States improve on their modalities of the annual remittances, to enable the EAC to meet the obligations set out in the treaty.   

The EAC Secretary General, Amb Liberat Mfumukeko, said they secretariat had been compliant with the rules and regulations in terms of submitting the Budget proposals until in March when some borders closed due to the pandemic. He says the effects of the pandemic as well as the electioneering processes in some partner states, could not allow the holding of the Council meeting in time, but that a solution to the matter will be found.   

Political Differences between some member countries have also affected the operations of the community. For Example, Heads of States Summits have been postponed several times because some countries withdraw attendance at the last moment, making it impossible to achieve the quorums for the meeting.    

The Chair of Council of EAC Ministers, Nshuti Manasseh, reiterated that the arrears owed were a liability and need to be met, though he did not mention if any action would be taken against the defaulting countries.

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