East Africa: EAC Urged to Speed Up Sanctions Against Partner States Not Paying Contributions

With very limited contributions from Partner States to the East African Community (EAC), which are even in some cases delayed or not remitted, the realisation of deeper and wider regional integration is questionable, Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) have said.

To tackle the issue, they urged the region to expedite sanctions against Partner States who do not honour their contributions to the bloc.

While presenting the report on an analysis of EAC budget for the 2023/2024 fiscal year during an EALA plenary session in Tanzania on June 22, MP Kennedy Ayason Mukulia, Chairperson of EALA’s Committee on General Purpose, said the Committee noted that no effort has been made to sanction the non-compliant Partner States in terms of paying contributions to the bloc’s initiatives.

“Over the years, the Assembly has passed several resolutions urging the Council of Ministers to invoke the relevant Treaty provisions to sanction the Partner States that have failed to meet their financial obligations to the Community,” he said.

“Owing to delayed or non-remittance of funds by some Partner States, the Community continues to make unrealistic budgets with most of the programmes remaining unimplemented at the end of each financial year,” he indicated.

Whereas the Committee was informed that the Council of Ministers embarked on drafting a schedule of sanctions against non-compliant Partner States in 2020, Mukulia said, “this exercise is taking long to finalise.”

A concern that must be urgently addressed

So far, South Sudan is the EAC Partner State that owes more to the bloc – a whopping $22 million in arrears – without factoring in more than $7.3 million contribution that it has not yet paid for the current fiscal year which will end on June 30, according to the report.

Another Partner State in arrears is Burundi, with slightly over $5 million unpaid contribution to EAC before the current fiscal year, the report showed.

MP George Stephen Odongo from Uganda, said, “The Republic of South Sudan, particularly Government, needs to take the functions of the Assembly very seriously, because as we speak, this budget will be entering the second year and the Republic of South Sudan is still indebted and has zero contribution in the previous budget.

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Odongo requested EAC to “consider activating provision of the Treaty for suspension of members that are not contributing to the Community.”