The new secretary general of the East African Community, Liberat Mfumukeko, has instituted stringent expenditure reforms that seek to eliminate wastage at the EAC secretariat.
Mr Mfumukeko, who took over from Dr Richard Sezibera at the end of April, noted that the EAC secretariat was experiencing financial strain due to delayed contributions by partner states and donors.
In a financial management circular issued at the end of last month, Mr Mfumukeko said the measures were a product of intense consultations with staff and heads of departments.
The reforms come after Tanzania president John Magufuli cautioned the secretariat during the heads of State Summit in March that “it will not be business as usual under his chairmanship”.
President Magufuli openly put the secretariat on notice that the days of wanton spending are gone, questioning the rationale of holding the summit at an exclusive resort when the secretariat boasts of modern conference facilities.
“The EAC secretariat should understand that partner states are poor countries. I don’t want it to be a parasite,” he warned.
Magufuli called for austerity measures as the guiding principle of the secretariat, given the financial challenges facing the bloc.
He also warned that he would be a hands-on chairperson just like how he has been with the Tanzania presidency.
The reforms, among them rationalising technical meetings, cutting number of days in which a meeting is conducted and cutting the number of participating delegates, among others, seek to cut unnecessary expenses that have strained the bloc’s finances.
The block shall also ensure that it utilises free of charge government-owned facilities with the procurement unit negotiating for corporate conference and accommodation rates in each partner state.