Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) have suspended all debate on the 2020/21 annual budget, demanding payment of their allowances in arrears since March, according to an official correspondence obtained Wednesday by APA in Kigali.The East African Legislative Assembly (Assembly) is an organ of the East African Community which is composed of lawmakers from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
Reports indicate that the unpaid allowances have accumulated to $2.5 million, reflecting the cash crunch facing the regional trade bloc.
In a letter dated September 14 addressed to EALA Speaker Martin Ngoga, General Purpose Committee chairperson Denis Namara issued a notice suspending its meetings until the issues are addressed.
“At its meeting on September 14, the Committee resolved to suspend the consideration of the Budget estimates until payment of all arrears owed to the members and staff for activities undertaken between the months of March-June 2020,” reads the letter by Mr Namara.
The EALA MPs also want to be paid for all the sittings they have undertaken after June, which marked the beginning of the current financial year.
This includes a virtual sitting held on September 2, that approved a Vote-on-Account of $19.6 million to support normal operations and cater to expenses of the EAC in the first quarter of the Financial Year 2020/2021, it said.
Most organs of the EAC are in paralysis with employees owed millions of dollars in salary arrears, following a delay of the annual budget that is supposed to have authorised withdrawal of funds.