Budget Time at East Africa Legislative Assembly, Region waits budget Reading as Bills pend

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ARUSHA Members of the East African Legislative Assembly are in Arusha for Sixth Meeting in the Fourth Session of the Third Assembly.

The regional assembly which is supposed to table the Budget of the East African Community Operations for the fiscal year 2016-2017. It will be the first budget to be calculated with the EAC new member, South Sudan on board.

South-Sudan joined the community last March making the regional bloc to have six member states, including the founding three – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, as well as Rwanda and Burundi who joined later.

The Budget Speech is expected to be delivered on June 2, 2016 by the Chair of the Council of Ministers, Dr Augustine Mahiga.

The Assembly is then expected to debate and approve the Budget as part of its mandate. The Budget Speech is a key activity of the EAC calendar. Last year, EALA debated and approved EAC Budget estimates for the Financial Year 2015/2016 totalling to US $ 110, 660,098.

The 2015/2016 Budget prioritized on the operationalisation of the Single Customs Territory, enhanced implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol with particular focus on implementation of the new generation EAC internationalised e-Passports and development of the EAC trading, payments and settlement systems.

The assembly is expected to Debate on the East African Community Address during the session. The address was delivered March 8, 2016, by  Tanzania Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa at the 5th Meeting of the 4th Session in Dar es Salaam.

He informed the House that progress had been realized following the entry of the Single Customs Territory.

Majaliwa said finalization of key operational instruments, revision of business manuals, development of Monitoring and Evaluation tool framework, deployment of staff and revision of an enforcement framework had opened the path for the operationalization of the Single Customs Territory in the Partner States.

There are also two Bills on the table at the EALA meeting: the EAC Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Bill, 2015 and the EAC Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2016.

The object of PWD Bill, 2015 is to provide a comprehensive legal framework for the protection of the rights of persons with disability in the Community. The Bill is premised under the provisions of Article 120 (c) of the EAC Treaty under which, Partner States closely co-operate amongst themselves in the field of social welfare with respect to the development and adoption of a common approach towards disadvantaged and marginalised groups.

Such groups include children, the youth, the elderly and persons with disability through rehabilitation and provision of among others, foster homes, health care, education and training. The House is also expected to receive and to debate on a number of Committee reports.

On the other side, its Committees shall hold consultative meetings with the EAC Council of Ministers. The Communications, Trade and Investments Committee has a date with the EAC Council of Ministers to review the EAC Sectional Properties Bill, 2016 and the EA Customs Management (Amendment Act) 2016.

On its part, the General Purpose Committee will consult with the Council on the Supplementary Budget Bill and the PWD Bill respectively, prior to tabling of both Bills in the House.

Credit: Daily News