Arusha. Tanzania is not indebted to any amount of money by the East African Community (EAC) as a budgetary contribution.
And the country would no longer allow the accumulation of debts to the regional organization.
âIt is true that there have been delays (in the remittances). But from now on, we have paid all our compulsory contributions, âsaid Foreign Minister Liberata Mulamula.
She said during her inaugural visit to EAC headquarters yesterday that Tanzania will also ensure to ratify all protocols it has signed with the EAC.
In fiscal year 2020/2021, the EAC’s budget estimate was $ 97 million, with each of the six partner states paying around $ 8 million.
For the next fiscal year 2021/2022 which begins on July 1, annual expenses are estimated at $ 90 million. Each member country will contribute $ 7.8 million.
The minister said she was aware of the serious impact of the cash flow crisis on the activities of the Arusha-based EAC in recent years.
However, she said some countries, which she couldn’t name, were still behind in paying their bills due to political unrest.
“I think the situation will change even for some countries that have been in crisis,” she told reporters after consulting with EAC officials.
Ms. Mulamula said that although Tanzania is committed to the ideals of the EAC, the country has an open door policy in the event of new challenges.
âNothing is insurmountable. There is always room for dialogue to reach consensus, âshe said at a consultative meeting of EAC envoys based in Tanzania.
She acknowledged that the country has often failed to send high-level delegations to some ministerial meetings of the EAC
However, she attributed this to poor coordination of information on such events with the Secretariat, insisting that this would now become history.
Among the protocols to be speeded up by Tanzania is the EAC foreign policy protocol. It was mentioned in the 1990s.
Earlier, the President of the Legislative Assembly of East Africa (Eala), Martin Ngoga, accused the bureaucracy of having contributed to the woes of the EAC.
He specifically questioned the role of EAC business ministers, saying they were often absent from key meetings such as House sessions.
He said he wanted to consult with ministers on key decisions brought before the House, but that some were not attending House sessions as required.
Under the EAC Treaty, ministers responsible for EAC affairs in all partner states are ex officio members of the Eala.
But Ngoga said some ministers have been absent from parliamentary sessions, so MPs have started to question the status of their portfolios.
Key consultations include those relating to the EAC budget which he says cannot be exhausted at senior official level.
âUltimately, it’s the ministers who have to make the decisions. They should be much closer to the EAC, âhe stressed.
Yesterday’s consultative meeting brought together high commissioners and ambassadors from EAC partner states accredited to Tanzania.
The slowness of integration was also expressed by the Deputy Secretary General of the EAC (Production and Social Sectors) Christophe Bazivamo.
He cited the famous series of trade barriers that have not been removed because decisions are often not implemented to the letter.
He challenged partner states to provide the necessary support to the EAC to ensure the sustainability of the regional integration agenda.
EAC General Secretary Peter Mathuki said the willingness to involve diplomats was part of ongoing efforts to promote economic diplomacy.
He stressed, however, the role of the private sector, saying it would spearhead the process in critical areas such as job creation.