- Ugandan members of parliament have questioned over US $2.2 million set aside by government to pay East African Community (EAC) membership fees for Burundi.
Minister of General Duties, Adolf Mwesige, told MPs that Uganda has been asked to contribute towards Burundi's share to EAC budget for financial years 2007/2008 and 2008/2009.
MPs on Parliamentary committee on Foreign Affairs were shocked to learn that Uganda is going to contribute towards payment of part of one of the East African Community member's share of contributions to EAC Budget.
Mr Mwesigye, said in Kigali summit, Burundi's president Pierre Nkurunziza informed EAC heads of state that his country could only afford to pay US $1m this financial year, almost one third of what it is expected to pay. Each member of EAC pays US$8m as subscription fees annually.
"It was agreed that Kenya, Uganda, Tanzinia and Rwanda, who are all members, should contribute $8m (sh13b) towards Burundi's subscription fees," he said.
Mr Reagan Okumu, one of the MPs, wondered why Burundi pushed for joining the federation yet it is unable to take up financial responsibility. "Uganda has to pay subscription fees this financial year. Where will government get extra money to pay for Burundi?" he questioned.
Mr Okumu further accused government of failing to involve parliament in the matter, saying issues of assisting other states are of national concern, therefore indicating that the process should be consultative. "Uganda cannot act as a donor country yet it is still grappling with matters like poverty eradication," he emphasised.
Committee chairman Steven Kaliba said finance minister, Dr Ezra Suruma, should be summoned to explain the matter, including financial management while the country is struggling to feed its own people.
Burundi, one of the world's poorest nations, which has just emerged from a 12-year ethnic-based civil war, has been plagued by tension between the dominant Tutsi minority and Hutu majority since its independence in 1961.
Ethnic violence sparked off in 1994 made Burundi the scene of one of Africa's most intractable conflicts.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.