EALA legislators pose for a group photo

Kampala: The Committee on Accounts in the East African legislative assembly (EALA) has called for proper, coherent and consistent budgetary planning saying the assembly has always failed to absorb its planned budget.

According to EAC Audited Financial Statements for the Year ended 30th June 2016 that was presented to EALA, the community had a budget of US $ 112,233,039 however the actual expenditure totalled to US $59,664,208 hence an overall budget performance of 65 per cent.

Speaking to EALA yesterday, the Chairman of the Committee on Accounts, Dr. Jumanne Ngwaru Maghembe said EAC Institutions, projects and programmes across board have a challenge of budget absorption, this therefore calls for proper budgetary planning, coherency and consistency in the budgeting process.

“The committee recommends Council of Ministers to direct the Audit Commission to follow up and report on annual basis to the Assembly through EALA Committee on Accounts on the status of the Assembly’s recommendations’ implementation’” He said during the session in Kenya.

He said the Committee observed a weak Audit function at the EAC adding that inadequate staffing is affecting the audit function on all the Organs and Institutions of EAC.

“In the regard, an immediate upgrade of the Audit function in to a fully-fledged department to ensure effectiveness is therefore necessary…” read in part of the 149 page report.

“On non-implementation of the previous audit recommendations, the Committee wants a proper mechanism to enable the Assembly to get periodical report(s) on the status on implementation of its recommendations from the Council of Ministers,” he said.

The Report further called for timely remittances of contributions by Partner States saying delays make implementation of EAC programs difficult.

“When funds are remitted towards the end of the financial year, they are not sent to the specific institution to which the money was budget for, but deposited to the reserve account,” the reads in part.

Other challenges include inadequate and weak regulatory framework governing the financial and procurement regimes at the EAC, weak compliance and verification systems of goods and services procured and weak disciplinary mechanisms to reprimand staff at the EAC among others.

The 4th Assembly that is running until June 15th, 2018 in the Kenyan capital, legislators are expected to debate various bills including the EAC Community Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2018, the East African Community Appropriation Bill, 2018 and the Administration of the EALA (Amendment) Bill, 2018.