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EAC budget slashed by USD 10m over S. Sudan, Burundi non-remittance

EAC Council of Ministers chairman Kirunda Kivejinja (C), Burundi’s EAC minister Isabelle Nahayo (R) and Tanzania Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and EAC Co-operation Dr. Susan Kolimba during the presentation of 2018/19 budget in Nairobi on June 4, 2018. Photo | Moses Havyarimana | NMG

By Jale Richard

The East African Community budget has been cut by USD 10 million after Burundi and South Sudan failed to remit their contributions to the regional bloc on time.

The East African community on Monday presented its 2018/2019 budget to the East African Legislative Assembly siting in Nairobi, Kenya with a USD 10 million slash attributed to reviewed expenditure targets due to poor remittance by some partner states.

According to the Citizen newspaper, the chairman of the Council of Ministers Mr. Kirunda Kivejinja who presented the estimates cited Burundi and South Sudan as the main defaulters.

“According to the EAC secretariat, the two states are yet to send in their contributions for the current year,” the Citizen reported. “Each partner state is expected to contribute at least USD 8.3 million per financial year and the remittances are expected December 31,” it said.

The EAC budget was revised to USD 99.7 million from USD 110 million in 2017/2018 due to defaults by some member states.

The East African Community predicts that economies of Burundi and  South Sudan will remain subdued with Burundi’s GDP growth contracted by 1.35 in 2017 while South Sudan’s contracted by 3.5% despite average regional growth of 5% due to sustained investment in infrastructure and health sector.

Both Burundi and South Sudan are experiencing political instability, with South Sudan now in its fifth year of civil war which crushed its once promising economy.

In February UN warned that more than 7 million people in South Sudan – two out of three  of the population – could become severely food insecure in the coming months without sustained humanitarian assistance and access.

Overall hunger levels have risen due to protracted conflict that led to reduced food production and constantly disrupted livelihoods. This was further exacerbated by economic collapse, which impacted markets and trade, making them unable to compensate for the decrease in local food production.

The regional intergovernmental authority on development is trying to mediate the warring parties to reach an agreement even though three previous attempts in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa have not born fruits.

South Sudan became the sixth member of the East African Community in April 2016 after President Salva Kiir signed an ascension treaty in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

The East African Community that was originally formed by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda before Rwanda and Burundi joined the bloc a couple of years later.

Being admitted to the regional body, South Sudan enjoys all the economic benefits the bloc currently has to offer and will join the members as they move to increase economic integration (through a monetary union) and eventually establish a single political federation.






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