NAIROBI (HAN) September 12.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News.By DICTA ASIIMWE. The East African Community is not spending a third of the money it receives, despite the Secretariat’s complaints about underfunding.
The Community has consistently complained about inadequate financing and has been pushing the Council of Ministers to come up with sustainable funding mechanisms.
One of the options that was discussed by the Council of Ministers sitting in Arusha on September 5, include a hybrid of a levy and equal contribution by partner states with a commitment to increase the Community’s budget.
The levy is expected to increase the Community’s financing, while the option of equal contribution is meant to retain the principles of equity, solidarity and equality as included in the Treaty.
But even as the Council of Ministers considers these options, an accountability report by the EAC Audit and Risk Committee found that institutions and projects of the Community, whose budget for the 2014/15 financial year was $125.6 million, only spent $81.4 million.
The report, which was discussed by East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on September 2, found that the money spent represents just 65 per cent of what had been budgeted.
Having utilised just 27 per cent of the total budget allocated, the African Peace and Security Architecture was one of the worst performing projects, despite the Community being a region with a large number of peace and security challenges.
These challenges include the conflict in Burundi and the effects of conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia and South Sudan, which have turned East Africa into one of the biggest refugee hosting regions in the world.
A report by the Audit and Risk Committee says the Community’s budget is funded about 40 per cent by partner states and 60 per cent by donors but the Secretariat had failed to use the money at its disposal.
The report also notes that many of the Community’s projects and programmes suffer from under-absorption of their budgetary allocations, and that the Community requires proper budgetary planning, coherence and consistency in the budgeting process.
The Community also suffers from poor financial management, including the fact that transactions on the general ledger were adjusted over a thousand times after submission of financial statements.
Institutions of the EAC are also accused of irregularly advancing money to staff and not being transparent in procurement. Highlighted in the report is the Kisumu-based Lake Victoria Commission (LVBC), mostly funded by donors.
At $13.4 million, LVBC is the third-best funded EAC project after the Secretariat and EALA yet is one of those cited for under performance and irregular payments to staff.