By Henry Sekanjako
The East African community (EAC) partner states have been urged to re-focus monitoring and achieving of the millennium development goals (MDGS) as the set deadline 2015 draws near.
According to Tanzanian vice-president Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal, there is need for constant monitoring of MDGs by EAC partner states especially ‘shelter for all’ goal as an important agenda in social - economic development.
“On various occasions, the EAC summit of heads has directed the council and secretariat to invest more of their energies in agriculture development, food security, infrastructure (both social and economic), industrial development and private sector promotion,” he remarked.
Gharib made the remarks on Monday while opening a two-day East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) conference on MDGs in Arusha Tanzania.
Dr. Mohammed told the conference that Tanzania had taken measures aimed at addressing the challenges of unplanned settlement and slums in the urban population and was undertaking a study with the united nations- Habitat.
“Legislators must re-focus their oversight activities in the development agenda, they should not only be critical to their governments but must stress what has been achieved, where the failures are and the reasons whether they resulted from inadequate resources or misplaced priorities,” noted Gharib.
The conference was attended by EALA members, legislators from South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.
EALA speaker Margaret Zziwa urged EAC parliamentarians to address issues that affect their communities for the attainment of the desired MDGs in their respective countries.
“As Parliamentarians, we must rise to the moment and follow up on these critical issues through enacting laws or holding accountable on policies regarding decent and affordable housing, and sustainable cities” she said.
She added that there was need to ensure equitable share of resources to sectors like health (MDGs 2, 4 and 5) education (4 and 6), water (7) food production, fuel and energy provisions, housing, among others which mainly affect the most vulnerable sections of the society.
Zziwa said unemployment and under-employment were the most devastating challenges afflicting youth and constraining their very survival in the EAC region.
Statistics reveal that only 11% of school graduates can acquire jobs in the public sector. In Kenya, 72% of the unemployed population is below 30 years of age.
“Unemployment means the region may not be able to comfortably realize MDG No: 1,” said Zziwa.
The two day conference features presentations on a wide spectrum of issues on MDGs with each region expected to share their experiences in the subject matter.