In a statement on Friday, EABC’s Executive Director, Peter Mathuki said the EAC partners’ budgets should lower cost of doing business in a bid to promote local manufacturing, regional value chains, and creation of employment opportunities.
Mathuki said improvement of transport infrastructure, energy and access to credit to ease doing business in the EAC should also be given priority in 2019/20 fiscal year.
In 2018, real gross domestic product in East Africa grew by an estimated 5.7 percent, slightly less than the 5.9 percent in 2017, saying rapid growth should be spurred by friendly fiscal regimes.
“Although the EAC has one of the highest-share of intra-regional trade among the major regional economic commissions in Africa, the share of intra-EAC exports has dropped from 20.9 percent in 2013 to as low as 15.9 percent in 2015,” the EABC chief noted. In 2017, the region recovered from a lower share of 16.5 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent in 2017.
Total intra-EAC investments decreased by 22.3 percent to USD197.0 million in 2017 from USD254.1 million in 2016 and Foreign Direct Investments into East Africa decreased by 25.3 percent to USD 6.6 billion in 2017, the statement added.
“To enhance revenue collection, the EAC partner states budgets should focus more on efficient and effective service delivery for the growth and expansion of businesses within the region and beyond,” the private sector regional lobby group stated.
The EABC also urges for adequate budgetary allocation of resources for the implementation and monitoring of the EAC Common Market Protocol and support to National Implementation Committees and related activities.
In summary, the EAC countries’ budgets for 2019/20 should prioritize and be geared to achieving the vision of the EAC Industrialisation Policy/Strategy thus ensuring a globally competitive, environment-friendly and sustainable industrial sector, capable of significantly improving the living standards of the people of East Africa by 2032.