EALA criticizes Council of Ministers, Secretariat over inconsistent annual report

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) during a sitting in Kigali this last week criticized the Council of Ministers’ failure to table before the Assembly the EAC Annual Reports in time which law makers say undermines the oversight mandate of the Assembly.

“The Assembly cannot effectively evaluate the impact of each year’s budget on the lives of the people of the East African community. It should be noted that the Annual report for the FY 2020/21 indicates a report for the Finance department showing the financial statements for that period,” said Kennedy Mukulia EALA member from South Sudan.

According to the regional assembly, the report which was presented by the Council of Ministers was inconsistent in its reporting with some items falling outside the FY 2020/2021 review period.

“While the report is meant to cover the Financial Year 2020/2021, it simultaneously indicates that most of the programmes were either implemented in 2016 -2019 or even the years beyond June 2021. Some items being reported are out of the period under review,” part of the EALA committee report reads.

According to the Regional Assembly Political Federation department reported budget execution amounting to $801,530 for the financial year 2018/19.

“Some of the achievements reported by Organs and Institutions are not achievements but rather activities/meetings undertaken during the period under review an example is the reporting under the department of Civil Aviation and Airports on page 19 where it is reported under Civil Aviation and Airports that a meeting of the Subcommittee of Air transport was held in March 2021, under Communication, a meeting of technical experts to review the concept paper among others,” EALA committee report stated.

The East African Community (EAC) annual report for 2020/2021 provides a comprehensive overview of the organization’s performance and achievements during the period.

“The council of ministers is about to fail the community no minister attend even our committee meetings, and yet they are EAC ministers. The SG is nowhere to be seen he is in the air traveling and nowhere to be seen. This is lack of supervision by the council,” said Rose Akol EALA member from Uganda.

Ms. Akol said that there is lack of Human Resource in the Community and a budget of $500,000 was passed for recruitment, “and now the funds have been allocated for other issues this is shows lack of priorities.”

EALA indicated that the annual report for the period of 2020-21 which was tabled by the Council of ministers does not indicate key performance indicators and resultant impacts of the implemented activities on the people of EAC therefore it becomes difficult to evaluate how the budget was executed.

“As the council we shall discuss and direct the secretariat to ensure that all EAC annual reports 2020/2021, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 are improved accordingly and then the council will table them. We therefore accept the cocerns and recommendations of the committee and we pledge to ensure timely and quality reports in future,” said Rwanda’s minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation James Kabarebe.

Article 49(2)(c) of the Treaty for the establishment of EAC indicates that the Assembly, “shall consider annual reports on the activities of the Community, annual audit reports of the Audit Commission and any other reports referred to it by the Council”. Article 59(3)(a) further provides that, “the Council shall publish annually and present to a meeting of the Assembly a general report on the activities of the Community and which the Assembly shall consider at its meeting”.

However, the report under consideration is for the period July 2020 to June 2021 leaving a backlog of two reports of FY 2021/22, and 2022/2023 that are yet to be tabled before the Assembly and considered by the Committee.

Upon reviewing the EAC Annual report for the FY 2020/21, EALA determined that it does not adequately meet the established standards of the Community and the Assembly.

“The report is among others; largely a copy and paste of the previous reports and lacks authenticity in terms of signatures and date of publication and provides inaccurate information. In light of these shortcomings, the Committee recommends to the Assembly to urge the Council to undertake a comprehensive revision of the report to ensure that it addresses the concerns raised by the Assembly and also ensure that future reports meet standards of the Community and the Assembly. The revised report should then be resubmitted for tabling,” the EALA committee on General Purpose report reads.


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