Rwanda has dismissed allegations that it still has arrears to clear its annual remittances to the East African Community (EAC).
During the East African Legislative Assembly in Kigali in May, lawmakers raised concerns over slow pace in payment of remittances by the five partner states, to finance the EAC fiscal year – 2016/2017 activities that were budgeted at $ 101 million.
Each of the five EAC member states is required to contribute $8,378,108 before 31st December of every year.
However, none of the member states had walked the talk.
For the fiscal year 2016/17 remittances from Uganda were highest with 91.53 percent ($7,668,419), followed by Kenya at 52.4 percent ($4,395,707), Rwanda at 48.07 percent ($4,027,316) and Tanzania at 30.47 percent with $2.553.203.
MP Patricia Hajabakiga told KT Press then that Rwanda was due to pay within two weeks.
“We (Rwanda) have agreed with the finance ministry that the balance for EAC remittances will be fully paid not later than May 15, 2017,” Hajebakiga said.
Apparently, Rwanda honoured this promise, but EAC financiers did not update.
“I attended EALA budget reading last week and I was really surprised to hear that Rwanda still has pending payment. We paid before end of May and we received confirmation from EAC secretariat,” Francois Kanimba, Minister of Trade, Industry and East African Affairs (Mineacom) told KT Press on Wednesday.
“Maybe there was a problem of exchange rate which is not a major problem. What matters is that we cleared 100%,” Kanimba said.
Meanwhile, the EAC budget for the 2017/2018 financial year has increased to $110,130,183.
As a result, the remittances per country were increased to $ 8.5 Million.
“Our contributions will be paid before 31st December,” Kanimba said, adding that Rwanda had negotiated disbursement in four installments in vain.
According to Kanimba, the Secretariat has demanded that all countries pay their remittances at once to avoid delay in implementation of the EAC projects and operations.
This guideline is meant to enhance the EAC 2017/2018 Budget themed “Accelerating Implementation of the EAC Integration Agenda.”
In fact, budget constraints are affecting the bloc’s activities.
EALA MPs said in May, that they have started some of their sessions through video conferencing to cut down on challenges of inability to sustain budget demands.
EAC 2017/2018 budget allocation
According to budget allocations to the Organs and Institutions of the EAC;
The East African Community Secretariat is financed with $60, 183, 201 while the East African Legislative Assembly was dedicated $17, 996, 959 and the East African Court of Justice, $4,140,166.
The Inter-University Council for East Africa will receive $6,766,928
The Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization are set to spend $11,960,643 and $ 2,466,655 respectively.
On their part, the East African Science and Technology Commission shall receive $ 1,500, 164 while the East African Kiswahili Commission will use $ 1,553,098 to disseminate the new language.
The East African Health Research Commission was allocated $ 2,225,324
The East African Competition Authority is to benefit $1,337,045 in the Financial Year 2017/18. The money will include rewards of artists who will design new emblems of EAC, including the flag.
Development Partners will support EAC budget at a tune of $52, 868,638.