The budget of the East African Community has decreased despite the number of programs remaining the same.
However, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the East African Community, Adan Mohamed, said this was deliberate and in tune with the economic climate.
In an interview with East AfricaMr. Mohamed said the economies of EAC member countries, as well as others around the world, have been hit by the pandemic, resulting in reduced tax revenues.
Countries have had to pay for stimulus packages to keep businesses afloat, forcing governments to operate under the region’s current economic circumstances.
The budget allocations for the EAC were recently reduced to $ 91 million in 2021, from $ 97 million in 2020 and $ 111 million in 2019.
Regarding regional trade and recent reports that Kenya imports more than it exports to neighboring countries, Mohamed said this is a sign of regional growth and the more there is. Intra-regional trade the better, as it showed sufficient movement of goods and possibly services in all directions as opposed to a one-way flow.
According to Mohamed, Kenya is now competitively buying closer to home instead of importing from outside the region’s Customs Union. The SC admits that the cost of agricultural production in Kenya is high compared to Tanzania and Uganda, especially for staples like maize, beans and wheat and with ever increasing demand, the only solution is to import from partner states which can produce cheaper. And these are mainly agricultural products intended for direct consumption.
The ministries of agriculture and the treasury, however, are looking at ways to support farmers, to make their products more competitive, while other departments are supporting by having some guarantee in the minimum markets.
Regarding import quotas for sugar, especially from Uganda, Mr. Mohamed said Kenya, as a matter of principle, is committed to the EAC Customs Union and the Common Market Protocol.
But he said suspicion of abuse of sugar import regulations and rules of origin by a few dishonest private sector companies is at the root of the problem.