A key report of the oversight activity of EAC Institutions with regards to governance, project performance was today adopted by the Assembly.
The Report presented to the House by Chair of the Accounts Committee, Hon Jeremie Ngendakumana emanates from oversight activities carried out by the Accounts Committee last month (February 2016) following queries obtained from the EAC Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 30th June 2014.
It also set to establish the adherence to the extent of status of implementation of the Assembly’s recommendations. The Committee visited the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO) and the EAC Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA) in Jinja and Entebbe respectively.
The Committee reported that the oversight activity at the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) which was envisaged was not undertaken as the heads of the institution were away as at time of the activity. The Committee however received information on governance and its adherence to the Assembly’s recommendations sent by the IUCEA.
Hon ShyRose Bhanji during debate on the Report. She called for additional funding for the EAC Institutions.
The objectives of the assessment were to assess whether governance and management systems of the institutions are good enough to guarantee performance and proper discharge of duties. It further sought to establish the implementation of the Assembly’s recommendations, strengthen governance and management systems of EAC Institutions and to establish extent to which the said institutions apply modern governance and management of applied technologies.
At the LVFO, the Committee reported the need for Council of Ministers to fast track accession of other Partner States to the LVFO as well as the need to urge the Council of Ministers to avail current data of fish to LVFO for updates. This the Committee ascertains, arises from the fact that the quality of fish is declining despite achievements and initiatives by LVFO. Therefore, the Committee informed the House that it was vital to carry out comprehensive sensitisation, provide all amenities and other facilities to fish farmers to spur increase in numbers.
Hon Yves Nsabimana makes his contribution on the floor of the House today.
The Committee generally noted progress with regards to the status of implementation of the Assembly’s recommendations at the Jinja- based LVFO. The Assembly however calls on the Audit Commission to report during the next audit on a number of areas including the unclaimed Value Added Tax and other outstanding areas such as the persisting overdue receivables. Other thematic areas include need to harmonise guidelines for development of fish cages, setting of regional standards for fish-feed and evidence of a disaster recovery plan.
On CASSOA, the Assembly observed that the budgetary constraints at the institution, prevent it from attracting qualified personnel and thus the Organogram is yet to be filled. In the regard, the Assembly urges the Council of Ministers to amend the CASSOA Protocol to enable the Assembly to approve its budget in accordance with the Treaty for the EAC. The Assembly is also categorical that CASSOA management relays its progress reports to the House.
Hon Mumbi Ngaru gestures, as she contributes to the debate earlier today.
It also wants the institution to relay to the Audit Commission progress on status of implementation of the Assembly’s recommendations with regards to its commendation to segregate duties within the payment process systems and on expenditure by the institution that is inadequately supported.
At debate time, Hon Shyrose Bhanji remarked that Lake Victoria was a key component of integration from a multi-sectoral approach.“It is a source of food, employment and income for many people in East Africa. Yet one of the challenges facing the LVFO is funding. It is high time Mr Speaker sir for the LVFO to be empowered and strengthened so we realise benefits”, Hon Bhanji said.
She also called on the Council of Ministers to ensure adequate sensitisation activities of the LVFO to create awareness.
Hon Yves Nsabimana said it was important for Partner States to remit their contributions on time so that the programmes and projects are on time. “Lack of adequate contribution has caused problems to LVFO including late recruitment and borrowing from the general reserve funds among others. In CASSOA, the institution is not attractive to personnel and consequentially, key positions at the institution are not filled.”, he said.
Hon Mumbi Ngaru remarked that the IUCEA had failed to honour the meeting called by the Assembly. “They opted to send a junior officer who could not interface with us”, she said, adding that the institution had eluded EALA for close to four years.
Hon Bernard Mulengani lamented over the zero incremental budgeting, which, he remarked was depriving the EAC of progress. “I appeal to Council to check on some of the decisions of the Finance and Administration Committee, that constantly proposes the zero-budget increment”, Hon Mulengani said.
Hon Christophe Bazivamo decried the decreasing production of fisheries in Lake Victoria as well as in other lakes and rivers and said it was necessary for adequate fish feeds to be provided.
Also rising in support of the report was Hon Pierre Celestin Rwigema, Hon Emmanuel Nengo and Hon Frederic Ngenzebuhoro.