Austerity mea­sures save EAC Sh59m in travel costs

The cost-cut­ting strat­egy, adopted in May, fo­cuses on cut­ting wastage, con­tain­ing and re­duc­ing fre­quency of trav­els, and hold­ing meet­ings via video con­fer­enc­ing

The Star (Kenya) - - News - ANGWENYI GICHANA @agichana

The East Africa Com­mu­nity sec­re­tar­iat aims to save more than US$6 mil­lion (Sh608.28 mil­lion) in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year through a cost-cut­ting strat­egy it adopted ear­lier this year.

EAC sec­re­tary gen­eral Lib­erat Mfu­mukeko says the bloc has saved $588,760 (Sh59.68 mil­lion) in travel ex­pen­di­ture alone since the mea­sures were adopted in May – around the same time he took over from Richard SezIbera on April 25.

“Since we in­sti­tuted sev­eral re- forms in the EAC or­gans and in­sti­tu­tions aimed at re­duc­ing costs in the EAC projects and pro­grammes, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of these reforms is go­ing on very well, and al­ready some pos­i­tive re­sults are be­ing re­ceived,” Mfu­mukeko said.

He told a press con­fer­ence at the EAC head­quar­ters in Arusha on Mon­day that “it is no longer busi­ness as usual”.

The reforms fo­cus on cut­ting wastage, con­tain­ing and re­duc­ing fre­quency of trav­els where EAC of­fi­cials should spend half of their work­ing days in Arusha. Twenty-five per cent of the meet­ings are held via video con­fer­ence.

“We have also re­duced the num­ber of days for our meet­ings to a max­i­mum of four,” the sec­re­tary gen­eral said, high­light­ing the achieve­ments in the last five years and pri­or­ity ar­eas for the next five years.

Mfu­mukeko said the EAC op­er­a­tions passed the Euro­pean Union Fidu­ciary Risk As­sess­ment.

“The as­sess­ment on the sec­re­tar­iat’s op­er­a­tions in five pil­lars namely: in­ter­nal con­trol sys­tem, ac­count­ing sys­tems, in­de­pen­dent ex­ter­nal au­dit, pro­cure­ment and sub-del­e­ga­tion met the in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cept­able stan­dards as re­quired by the Euro­pean Union,” the EAC boss said.

Mfu­mukeko said the EAC now serves more than 160 mil­lion peo­ple, with the en­try of South Su­dan. “This means that South Su­dan will now be in­te­grated into the ac­tiv­i­ties, pro­grammes and projects of the EAC and will com­mence con­tribut­ing to the EAC bud­get,” he said.

Among other achieve­ments, Mfu­mukeko men­tioned EAC’s ISO cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. He also said out of 15 bor­ders ear­marked to op­er­ate as One Stop Bor­der Posts, 11 have been com­pleted, and 10 are op­er­a­tional. The OSBP will re­duce the amount of time spent at the bor­der points in the five EAC part­ner states.

Mfu­mukeko said since the in­tro­duc­tion of a sin­gle cus­toms ter­ri­tory, there has been a dras­tic re­duc­tion of the pe­riod taken to clear and trans­port goods.

ANGWENYI GICHANA

EAC sec­re­tary gen­eral Amb Lib­erat Mfu­mukeko in Arusha, Tan­za­nia, ad­dresses the media on Mon­day

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