Re­gional assem­bly seeks au­ton­omy

The East African - - NEWS - By MOSES HAVYARIMANA

THE EAST African Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly is seek­ing au­ton­omy from the Sec­re­tar­iat in an ef­fort to deal with de­lays in pro­cure­ment and to con­trol its bud­get.

Last month, a com­mit­tee was set up by the EAC Coun­cil of Min­is­ters to look at the dy­nam­ics in the Sec­re­tar­iat and EALA that would ease their work. It is ex­pected to hand its re­port to the Coun­cil by Fe­bru­ary 2019.

Julius Ma­ganda, Uganda min­is­ter of state for East African af­fairs and the chair of the coun­cil of min­is­ters, told

The Eastafrican in Bu­jum­bura that au­tonomu would en­sure that nei­ther of the in­sti­tu­tions un­der­mined the other.

The com­mit­tee is com­posed of three tech­ni­cal ex­perts: One from the of­fice of the EALA clerk, one from the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral's of­fice and an in­de­pen­dent ex­pert from out­side the Sec­re­tar­iat.

This came af­ter a re­quest from EALA to cre­ate au­ton­omy cit­ing a lot of de­lays mainly in pro­cure­ment which are said to be hin­der­ing the re­gional assem­bly's busi­ness.

The Com­mon­wealth Par­lia­ment along which the EALA is mod­elled, is au­ton­o­mous.

“This would give EALA the nec­es­sary lever­age to ex­e­cute its over­sight role, which, in the cur­rent cir­cum­stances, is dif­fi­cult,” said Ge­orge Odongo, an EALA mem­ber from Uganda.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Odongo it is a prac­tice in mem­ber states to pro­tect the in­tegrity of the par­lia­ment and the ex­ec­u­tive, and yet pro­vide the nec­es­sary lever­age for par­lia­ment to ex­er­cise its over­sight role.

The re­gional Coun­cil of Min­is­ters and the Sum­mit ap­proved the assem­bly's re­quest but there was a plan that the sec­re­tar­iat was sup­posed to re­view, in or­der come up with modal­i­ties for the au­ton­omy.

Should the re­gional assem­bly be­comes in­de­pen­dent, in a much as the bud­get will be pre­pared by the sec­re­tar­iat, it will not be sub­jected to mak­ing req­ui­si­tions for the its pro­grammes and ac­tiv­i­ties as it will be self-ac­count­ing.

“This mat­ter is be­ing con­sid­ered by both EAC sec­re­tar­iat and the coun­cil be­cause we are still lim­ited by the treaty, EAC rules and Reg­u­la­tions and also lack of staff to han­dle key func­tions such as pro­cure­ment,” said the EAC Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Lib­erat Mfu­mukeko.

The East African Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly and the East African Court of Jus­tice are the two or­gans of the com­mu­nity seek­ing au­ton­omy. Ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil of min­is­ters the move will re­duce the back­logs on the side of SG'S of­fice to cre­ate ef­fi­ciency in the op­er­a­tions of the two or­gans.

Last month a memo to the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral from the EALA clerk Ken­neth Madete in­di­cated that the third meet­ing of the 2nd ses­sion was post­poned due to liq­uid­ity chal­lenges. The let­ter in­di­cated that the post­pon­ing of the sit­ting was caused by the de­lays in re­mit­tance of funds by the part­ner states as such the assem­bly did not have suf­fi­cient funds to fa­cil­i­tate im­ple­men­ta­tion of the aligned ac­tiv­i­ties.

Bu­rundi, South Su­dan and Uganda are the mem­ber states hav­ing ar­rears of the fi­nan­cial year 2017/2018 of $6,254,494, $7,371117 and $497330 re­spec­tively, the over­all bud­get per­for­mance of the East African Com­mu­nity for the Fi­nan­cial year 2016/2017 was at 62% re­ceiv­ing $70 mil­lion of the $106 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to the EAC re­port de­lays in re­mit­tances of con­tri­bu­tions from mem­ber states have been a ma­jor con­cern that re­sulted to the sus­pen­sion of East African Com­mu­nity projects in the last fi­nan­cial year, with only 39% of the con­tri­bu­tion for the fi­nan­cial year 2016/2017 was re­ceived by De­cem­ber 2016.

The East African Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly

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