, KAMPALA, Uganda, May 31- The chairman of the East Africa Community (EAC) Council of Ministers Shem Bageine has presented budget estimates for the coming financial year 2013/2014 of Sh11 billion to the East African Legislative Assembly sitting in Kampala.
The 2013/2014 budget which is down from Sh11.8 billion in the current financial year prioritises consolidation of the Common Market, completion of negotiations and movement towards the East African Monetary Union Protocol.
The budget has also focused on investment promotion and private sector development, co-operation in cross-border infrastructure, enhancing the extractive and processing industries, implementation of the critical activities of EAC food security and the mainstreaming of policies, programmes and projects related to gender.
Bageine highlighted a number of achievements registered in the 2012/2013 financial year including the completion and commissioning of the rehabilitated Arusha-Namanga-Athi River road, the relocation of the EAC into the new headquarters and enhanced sensitisation and outreach programmes.
The region had maintained real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 5.5 percent against a harsh economic environment.
Significant drops in inflation from 20.1 percent to 8.5 percent was aided by monetary policy tightening and lower food prices associated with a recovery in local food production.
“Global prospects for 2013 have improved but the road to recovery in the advanced economies will remain a bumpy one. The Sub-Saharan Africa region’s economic growth is projected to remain constant at 5.3 percent in 2013. In the EAC however, economic growth is projected to expand by 6.1 percent,” Bageine stated.
The budget is allocated to the organs and institutions of the EAC including the East African Community Secretariat Sh5.9 billion, East African Legislative Assembly Sh1.1 billion and the East African Court of Justice Sh364 million.
The Inter-University Council for East Africa shall receive Sh825 million while Sh272 million is earmarked for the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation.
The budget estimates are to be financed by partner state contributions through the ministries of EAC, and through other agencies and development partners’ support.