Uganda: Delays in Financial Remittances from Member States Frustrate EALA MPs
The East African Assembly majorly relies on contributions from member states to fund its budget
Sometimes, we are forced to defer or cancel some of our activities because we do not get remittances on time from member states
Delays in financial remittances from member states are still a major impediment to the operations and activities of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
This was revealed by EALA MPs sitting on the accounts committee who are in Uganda to benchmark on the best parliamentary practices.
The EALA MPs on Monday, 24 January 2022 met Uganda’s MPs from the accountability committees of Commission, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) and Public Accounts Committee (Central) chaired by Hon Joel Ssenyonyi and Hon Medard Sseggona respectively.
Hon. Dr Gabriel Garang Aher, EALA member from South Sudan said that with the exception of Uganda, other East African Community (EAC) member states do not make their financial remittances on time suffocating EALA activities.
The East African Assembly majorly relies on contributions from member states to fund its budget.
“Our biggest challenge as EALA is the issue of finances. There are times members go without pay because there is no money. Sometimes, we are forced to defer or cancel some of our activities because we do not get remittances on time from member states,” Garang said.
However, the challenge of finances is not the only impediment of the East African Assembly. Hon Suzan Nakawuki, Uganda’s representative, blames EALA’s struggles on the EAC Council of Ministers for politicising and frustrating its legislative agenda and decisions.
The Council of Ministers is the central decision-making and governing organ of the EAC. Its membership constitutes ministers or cabinet secretaries from the Partner States whose dockets are responsible for regional co-operation.
“One of our biggest challenges is how the recommendations of the committees are implemented. With EAC, everything is political, you make recommendations which are supposed to be implemented by the Council of Ministers, but when they sit in council, everyone is protecting their own even if they are at fault,” Nakawuki said.
Eng. Mohammed Habib Mnyaa, EALA’s representative from Tanzania said that whereas there is political goodwill from presidents of the member states to ensure the growth of EAC, the Council of Ministers is too political to the extent that they stifle bills meant to ensure checks and balances on the ministers.
Hon Sarah Achieng Opendi (NRM, Tororo District) urged the MPs to use other ‘extreme’ ways to check the Council of Ministers even if it means refusing to pass the budget.
“EALA being frustrated by political leaders is really unacceptable. How do you cover up glaring cases of corruption simply because you are protecting your interests? Member states should not close their eyes on such matters,” Opendi said.
The Chairperson of PAC, Hon Sseggona rallied the EALA members to bring on board other national parliaments to ensure that the money is appropriated and remitted for EAC activities. He advised the East African legislators to continue executing their mandate of seeking accountability and generating reports despite the parallel adoptions from the Council of Ministers.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.