THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) says its 2018 annual budget for the secretariat and its agencies has declined by $10 million as several co-operating partners grants come to an end.
In a statement last week, Comesa secretary-general Mr Sindiso Ngwenya said the reduction was translating to about 30 percent.
“The annual budget will decrease from $42 million in 2017 to $32 million for 2018. This translates into a 30 percent reduction,” Mr Ngwenya said.
Member states are expected to contribute $16,7 million while co-operating partners are expected to provide $15,6 million.
He said funding from co-operating partners may, however, increase for 2018 if the programming processes of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) funds were completed early and grant agreements are signed. Among the Comesa agencies that will be affected are the Regional Investment Agency (RIA), the Federation of Women in Business (FEMCOM) and the Comesa Competition Commission.
Mr Ngwenya urged member states to put up deliberate measures to increase the proportion of their financial contribution to the budget.
“At some point, our co-operating partners will naturally expect Comesa member states to assume a greater share of funding of the Comesa work programme.”
To ensure the desired levels of integration and cooperation is achieved, the Comesa secretary general called for the speedy implementation of agreed trading bloc’s instruments by member states.
He noted that the current levels of production and infrastructure development were affecting job creation and intra-Comesa trade.
“Comesa may not achieve the desired development milestones in 2020 at this low implementation level of Comesa instruments,” said Mr Ngwenya.
The Administrative and Budgetary Committee supports and guides the Secretariat in administrative, financial, human resources and audit matters.