NGOs petition wants EAC fees defaulters suspended

23Sep 2019
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
NGOs petition wants EAC fees defaulters suspended

THE East African Civil Society Organizations Forum has filed a petition seeking the suspension of the East African Community (EAC) member states that default on membership fees.

Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko.

In the petition filed by the forum in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania and dispatched to the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Martin Ngoga over the weekend, CSOs want the treaty for the establishment of the EAC to provide for suspension of any EAC state defaulting in the remittance of mandatory membership fees.

The petition was signed by Martha Makenge, the forum’s Acting Chief Executive Officer and Programme Coordinator and delivered to the EAC Secretary General, Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko.

The first member state that would be suspended under the petition would be the group’s newest member, South Sudan, which until June 2019 had paid nothing in EAC membership fees. Burundi would be in danger as it has paid US$ 408,548 in membership dues, equivalent to five percent of the required fee, the petition indicated.

So far Kenya has remitted $ 8.2 million which is 98 percent of its arrears, followed by Tanzania with US $ 7.4 million remittances, around 89 percent of the required US $ 8.4 million annual membership fees for the Arusha-based regional body. Rwanda has remitted US$7.3million, which is 87 percent of its arrears.

Uganda had by June 2019 paid US $ 6.3 million, equivalent to 76 percent, whereas in total the EAC secretariat had received US $ 29.7 million in membership fees from the member countries.

It was intended that the East African Community should be getting total annual fees amounting to US $ 50.3 million from the six EAC member states, but the remittance is currently clocking at 59 percent.

Juba owes the community a total of US $ 19.3 million being this year’s membership fees plus arrears.

The East African Civil Society Organizations Forum (EACSOF) in its dispatch to the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly stated that it was perplexed by the failure of the partner states to meet their financial obligations to the EAC.

“That effectively breaches the Finance and Appropriation Acts of the Community consistently. Delayed remittances and failure to achieve 100 percent compliance is detrimental to the survival of EAC,” the petition underlined.

“The average aggregate contributions of 2018/19 were a mere 59 percent to the EAC, which is already suffering zero percent budget increase for almost a decade,” it reads in part.

“EACSOF undertook a small survey of the performance of the EAC Budget and remittances from the partner states as a fact finding mission to establish where the problem of our beloved EAC is coming from,” it added.