The East African Community has tabled a $99,770,716 Budget estimates for the Financial Year 2018/19 which is less than the approved budget for 2017/18 by $10 million.
According to the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, and Second Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda, Rt Hon Dr Ali Kirunda Kivenjija, the Sh9.98 billion ($99,770,716) budget for 2018/2019 tabled in the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) on Tuesday reduces the Secretariat’s budget to Sh4.67 billion, down from the current financial year’s Sh6.02 billion.
In 2017, EALA approved $110,130,183 budget which was themed “Accelerating Implementation of the EAC Integration Agenda”.
The 2018/2019 Budget themed: “Enhancing Prosperity and Welfare of EAC Citizens” with the Priority Interventions for FY 2018/19 focusing on enhanced free movement of goods in the region and further liberalization of free movement of labor and Services.
It also looks at improving cross-border infrastructure to ease cost of doing business in the region; and enhanced regional agricultural productivity.
“Other priority interventions include enhanced industrial development through investment in key priority sectors including leather and textile; skills development, technological advancement and innovation to stimulate economic development. The implementation of the roadmap for the attainment of the EAC Monetary Union; strengthened Peace, Security and Good Governance and Institutional Framework for EAC Political Confederation are also set for consideration.” Reads a statement from the East African Legislative Assembly in part.
Other key areas, according to Dr Kivenjija, include further consolidation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to enhance intra-EAC trade, leading to reduction in the cost of doing business in the region and the development of regional infrastructure, thereby reducing transport costs, and easing cross-border movement of people, goods and services.
“The funds are also earmarked to enhance implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol, with particular emphasis on free movement of skilled labour across the Partner States.” He said.
“The EAC budget is further expected to streamline and further consolidate its operational systems to achieve the desired level of efficiency, accountability, and value for money.” He noted.
Last Financial Year, the august House’s approved budget which was earmarked for among others; consolidation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods; Infrastructural development in the region and liberalization of free movement of skilled labour across the Partner States.
So with this year’s budget, political stability and good governance as well as safe and stable security across the region are among other areas of consideration.
Rt Hon Dr. Kivenjija said the region has continued to realise significant growth and development even though there were mixed results. “Mr. Speaker, the EAC region maintained its position as the fastest-growing sub-region in Africa, with estimated growth of 4.6 % in 2017, up from 4.4 % in 2016”, the Chair said.
Strong growth was widespread in the region, with Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda growing at more than 5%.