“As EAC partner states unveils their budgets for the 2019/2020 fiscal year next week, governments should consider improving transport infrastructures, energy and access to credit to ease doing business in the EAC,” said a statement by EABC that was signed by Peter Mathuki, the executive director.
The council said that to enhance revenue collection, EAC partner states budgets should focus more on efficient and effective service delivery for growth and expansion of businesses in the EAC and beyond.
The EABC also urged adequate budgetary allocation of resources for the implementation and monitoring of the EAC Common Market Protocol and support to national implementation committees and related activities.
“The EAC partner states’ budgets for the financial year 2019/2020 should prioritize achieving the vision of the EAC industrialization strategy which includes being globally competitive, environment-friendly and ensure a sustainable industrial sector,” the statement intoned.
The budgets should visualize capacity to significantly improving the living standards of the people of East Africa by 2032 and the objective of 5th EAC development strategy to building a firm foundation for transforming the EAC into a stable, competitive and sustainable lower middle income region by 2021.
EABC suggested that partner states budgets for the coming fiscal year should address the challenges of EAC regional integration such as high costs of doing business and the cost of borrowing, allocate budget funds for implementation and monitoring of the Common Market and Customs Union protocols and increasing intra-EAC trade through elimination of non-tariff barriers.
The budgets should also focus on improving trade facilitation, fast track the finalization of the EAC Common External Tariff to avoid trade distortions, elimination of work permit fees and restrictions for East Africans and enhance public-private dialogues for trade and investment.
In 2018, real GDP in East Africa grew by an estimated 5.7 percent, slightly less than the 5.9 percent level in 2017.
Although the EAC has one of the highest intra-regional trade levels among major regional economic communities (RECs) in Africa, the share of intra-EAC exports dropped from 20.9 percent in 2013 to as low as 15.9 percent in 2015.
The EAC total intra investment decreased by 22.3 percent to US $ 197million in 2017 from US $ 254.1 million in 2016. Foreign direct investments into East Africa decreased by 25.3 percent to US $ 6.6 billion in 2017 on the basis of the EAC Trade and Investment Report, 2017.