Funding crisis clouds Nairobi session of East African Parliament

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A funding crisis that has crippled operations at the East African Community (EAC) is set to cloud debate at the Nairobi sittings of the trade bloc’s legislative arm beginning Tuesday.
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Monday said the financial crunch is so serious that the Assembly, a number of institutions and organs within the EAC have either cancelled or significantly curtailed their activities.

Speaking in Nairobi on Monday, EALA Speaker Daniel Kidega said cash remission by member states had fallen way behind budget.

“I know generally that there is pressure on our economies, but the point of concern here is that partner states committed to contribute money equally to the integration process. But these commitments are not coming in time and therefore affecting the EAC integration process,” he said.

In the current (2016/2017) financial year, Kenya is among countries doing dismally in remittances to the EAC, having paid only 28 per cent of the Sh854.5 million that is due per country annually.

Rwanda has remitted only 23.8 percent of the amount due, Tanzania 6.6 per cent while Burundi has remitted nothing.

Uganda is doing better that the other partner states, having paid Sh760.3 million or 88.9 percent of the amount due.

Flanked by other EALA members at the Press briefing, Dr Kidega noted that the Assembly had to suspend some of its activities in September and October due to lack of funds.

Some of the affected activities are the General Purpose Committee, the Committee on Communications, Trade and Investments, the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolutions Committee, the Legal, Rules and Privileges Committee, and the Select Committee against Genocide and Genocide Denial.

Other activities affected include the delayed payment of salaries and payment of EAC suppliers.

“I appeal to the Partner States to make their full remittances by December 2016 as agreed by the Council of Ministers,” Dr Kidega said.

EALA recently passed a resolution urging the EAC Heads of State to direct that the Council of Ministers fast tracks implementation of the alternative sustainable funding mechanism for the EAC.

“We specifically appeal to the concerned to make sure that the directive of the summit on sustainable funding mechanism is concluded quickly to solve these problems,” said Dr Kidega.

EALA is holding the current session in Nairobi in pursuit of the principle of rotation that is anchored on the provisions of Article 55 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.

Cross posted from Daily National: