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EAC Announces Budget Cuts Amid Financial Crunch

The new cost-cutting measures also direct that at least 25 percent of EAC meetings shall use video conferencing facilities. To that end the EAC shall invest in improving video-conferencing both at secretariat and partner states level, to accommodate as many meetings as possible, at the same time.
The East African Community-EAC has announced stringent expenditure reforms in all its organs and institutions amid a financial crunch at its Arusha-based secretariat.

The Secretary-General of the East African Community (EAC), Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko announced the reforms in a financial management circular dated May 18, 2016.

Some of the measures include, among others, a reduction in meeting days for technical meetings, reduced conference duration's, reduced per diem for travels and more usage of EAC facilities like meeting rooms instead of hired places.

The new measures also restrict authorization of permission for staff travels to the respective Deputy Director-Generals or Directors unlike before. The communication adds that all air tickets shall be booked and issued based on the most direct route.

Some consultancy services, which the EAC staffs are capable of doing, will be done by EAC staff instead of hiring consultants, the communication adds.

The new cost-cutting measures also direct that at least 25 percent of EAC meetings shall use video conferencing facilities. To that end the EAC shall invest in improving video-conferencing both at secretariat and partner states level, to accommodate as many meetings as possible, at the same time.

In the case of dormant projects supported by development partners and in order to avoid EAC incurring recurrent costs on behalf of development partners, the contracts of project staff will be tied to the life of the specific projects except where the project runs for more than five years, in which case the contract of the staff shall be broken into five years and renewable once.

Also, in the event that a development partner withdraws support to a running project, the contracts of the staff under this project shall be terminated. And where a project faces delayed disbursements for more than three months without communication for the delay or commitment on further disbursement from the development partner, the contracts for staff under this project shall be terminated, the Secretary General's communication adds.

Ambassador Mfumukeko said the measures and reforms are a product of intense consultations he has had with the EAC executive and general staff, heads of institutions and directors over the past few weeks. He said all staff of EAC organs and institutions are under obligation to enforce implementation of these new measures.

He adds that in an effort to effectively execute these measures, a projects coordination unit will be established by July 1 to enhance effective communication and reporting to partner states, East African Legislative Assembly and development partners.

The unit will also have a one-stop-desk and repository for information on all projects as well as ensure joint planning and budgeting, timely and coordinated implementation, reporting and auditing of projects.

Ambassador Mfumukeko, who took over the mantle from Dr Richard Sezibera as the Chief Executive of the regional organization on April 26, noted that the EAC organs and institutions have been experiencing liquidity challenges as a result of delays in disbursement of contributions by both the partner states and development partners.

Although the true extent of the EAC financial hardships is not known, the regional body's cost of administration has been unnecessarily huge, yet it depends squarely on donations. Last week, the EAC passed a budget of 101 million US Dollars for the financial year 2016/17, down from 110 million US Dollars in 2015/16.

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