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Monday, 05 June 2017

Regional Budget to Prioritise Infrastructure Development, Trade

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed a $110.1m (Shs396b) budget for the financial year 2017/18, an 8 per cent increase from $101.3m (Shs364b) for the year ending in June. The new budget seeks to prioritise the development and promotion of nine sectors, including regional infrastructure, trade and investment. Presenting the budget to the Assembly in Arusha, Tanzania, last week, Uganda's Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, the chairperson of the Council of Ministers of EAC, said: "The new budget seeks to consolidate the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods including agricultural and other widely consumed products." The budget themed: 'Accelerating Implementation of the EAC Integration Agenda' will also seek to improve agricultural productivity, value addition and facilitation of movement of agricultural goods to enhance food security in the region. Other areas are infrastructure development in the region, further liberalisation of free movement of skilled labour across the partner states, enhancement of regional industrial development through investment in key priority sectors, skills development, technological advancement and innovation to stimulate economic development. Expected Outcome Mr Kivejinja said the implementation of the priority programmes will result into the consolidation of the Single Customs Territory. "It is expected that intra-EAC trade, especially trade in agricultural goods, will increase significantly. The cost of doing business in the EAC region will be reduced, resulting in a reduction in the cost of living for the citizens of East Africa," he said. Also, development of regional infrastructure is expected to reduce incidents of overloading, thus leading to a reduction in maintenance budgets for road agencies, and improvement in cross border movement for persons and goods. "Liberalisation of air transport services will result to an increase in traffic routes, air traffic movements and passengers, and a reduction in the cost of air transport," Mr Kivejinja said.

Source: Allafrica