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EALA to debate budget estimates

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Dan Fred Kidega Speaker EALA
Dan Fred Kidega Speaker EALA

The East African Legislative Assembly is set to debate the Budget Speech, a key activity for the legislative arm of the East African Community.
According to a communiqué released on May 6, the 12-day plenary session in Arusha, Tanzania, to be held between May 10 and May 22 will be presided over by the EALA Speaker Dan Fred Kidega, while the Speech, expected on May 14 will be delivered by the chairman of the EAC Council of Ministers Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe.
In June last year EALA approved US$124,216,995 for FY 2014/15 and prioritized the operationalization of the Single Customs Territory (SCT); implementation of the Common Market Protocol and the implementation of the bloc’s industrialisation policy, among other issues.
In January this year EALA approved a supplementary budget of US$2,040,520 to cater for among other activities, elections in the region, food balance, and the strengthening of the community’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) interventions. Other areas that received supplementary budgetary interventions included HIV/Aids, EAC Vision 2050 and the e-Passport, bringing the total amount to US$126,257,515.
In a related development, EALA will also debate the EAC Creative and Cultural Industries Bill, 2015 and the EAC Electronic Transactions Bill, 2014.
‘Creative and cultural industries are considered one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy and contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many developed and developing countries. The object of the Bill is to promote the creative and cultural industries at the EAC’ the communiqué reads in part.
The bill, sponsored by Rwanda’s EALA MP Dr. James Ndahiro seeks to establish the Creative and Cultural Industries Council, a body that will oversee the innovations, coupled with skills training and policy formulation, among other functions.
Other reports expected to be debated include: the rights of children in the community; the 2nd Lake Victoria Water Supply and Sanitation Programme, and the State of EAC Address which was delivered on March 19th, in Bujumbura, Burundi, by President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, who is also the Chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State.
At its last sitting in Bujumbura EALA passed three Bills namely: the EAC Customs (Amendment) Bill 2015; the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Bill, 2015 and the EAC Civic Education for Integration Bill, 2015.

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