Limited funding slowing down EAC integration process - report

L-R: EAC Presidents Pierre Nkurunziza, Jakaya Kikwete, Uhuru Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame during The 15th Ordinary Summit of The East African Community Heads of States in Kampala last year. A report shows the EAC integration is being slowed down by funding. FILE PHOTO

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Recommendation. Report also highlights the need to sensitise stakeholders on the roadmap for the Monetary Union

Kampala.

A reduction in the East African Community (EAC) ministy’s budgetary resources aimed at sensitising Ugandans about the integration, coupled with absence of a national integration policy have slowed down efforts to create awareness in the country, a recent report has shown.

Statistics obtained from the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEACA)’s Ministerial Policy Statement show that the funds allocated to sensitise the public have reduced from Shs494 million in the financial year 2013/2014 to Shs475 million in 2014/2015.

A Mid Term Review (MTR) carried out in February this year on the four-year capacity building project conducted by Imani Development, an independent South African consultancy firm, and funded by Trademark East Africa (TMEA) at the ministry, also shows only 32 per cent awareness has been attained.

Although the report indicated that the integration process is on the right course, with some section of the public now aware of the integration process, it also highlights a need for increased funding towards a shift in knowledge levels in the country and training of the ministry staff.

“It is necessary to strengthen counter-parting relationships between technical support unit and MEACA staff as part of the medium to facilitate capacity building through skill transfers,” the MTR report reads in part.

Commenting on the report, the State Minister of East African Community Affairs, Mr Shem Bageine, said: “The awareness campaign is making a steady progress through sensitisation workshops organised across the country although the ministry is limited by resources.”

Mr Bageine added that the ministry needs an enlarged budget envelope aimed at creating awareness and building capacity of technical staff to help in steering the integration.

ministry of east african community affairs performance

Upon establishment in 2007, the Ministry of East African Community Affairs has faced many challenges among them; low awareness levels of EAC information among Ugandans, absence of an integration policy, and persistence of Non-tariff Barriers (NTBS) in the intra-EAC, delays in the Operationalising of the Common Market Implementation Plan, limited human and financial resources coupled with institutional bottlenecks.

However, a lot has since changed with the capacity building to the project in 2011. The project has seen the ministry score 80 per cent in the 2013 annual government review, attributed to the project’s direct interventions, its funding has also survived budget cuts in 2013 compared to other Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs)

On NTBs, Mr Bageine says East African Legislative Assembly intends to introduce a Bill that will permanently eliminate them throughout the region.

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