By Milton Olupot and John Odyek
THE East African Community (EAC) budget for the year 2007/08 was read yesterday, with a focus on job creation.
The EAC chairman of the council of ministers, Eriya Kategaya, read the budget to the East African Legislative assembly (EALA) in the Ugandan Parliament. The event was presided over by the EALA Speaker, abdirahim Haither Abdi.
Kategaya said the council of ministers had asked the assembly to approve a $28.3m (over sh50b) budget, reflecting a 26% increase.
The EAC Secretariat will get $14.5m, defence liaison $696,276, the directorate of customs and trade $1.5m, EALA $6.4m, East African Court of Justice $2.3m and Lake Victoria Basin Commission $2.8m.
The budget will be financed by contributions of $4.2m from each partner, including Rwanda and Burundi. Other donors will contribute $6.1m.
There will be a miscellaneous income of $39,563 and revenue float of $662,180.
â€œThe communityâ€™s primary objective is to raise the standard of living of East Africans. â€œJob creation is a critical issue and the future political stability in the region hinges on how it addresses the unemployment crisis affecting particularly the youth,â€ Kategaya said.
He noted that the third EAC development strategy would focus on the private sector development, industrialisation, infrastructure development and rural and agricultural development.
The budget also focused on measures to address the energy deficit in the region, as well as joint marketing the region as a single tourist destination.
Kategaya said they hope there will be sustained political will and popular participation in the regional integration process and stability.
Previously, the community implemented the Customs Union and prepared for the common market protocol.