Lusaka, Thursday, October 26, 2017: The proposed 2018 annual budget for the COMESA Secretariat and its agencies has declined by US$10 million dollars as several cooperating partners grants come to an end. This was revealed during the opening of the 37th meeting of the Committee on Administration and Budgetary matters.
“The annual budget will decrease from USD42 million in 2017 to USD32 million for 2018. This translates into a 30% reduction,” Mr. Ngwenya said. Member States are expected to contribute $16.7 million while cooperating partners are expected to provide $15.6 million
He told the delegates that funding from cooperating partners may however increase for 2018 if the programming processes of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) funds are 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.
In his official address, the Secretary General urged Member States to put up deliberate measures to increase the proportion of their financial contribution to the budget.
He noted: “At some point, our cooperating 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 Secretary General called for the speedy implementation of agreed COMESA 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,” he said.
The Administrative and Budgetary Committee supports and guides the Secretariat in administrative, financial, human resources and audit matters.
During the three-day meeting, the Committee will consider matters relating to the management of human resources, review the current (2017) and previous (2016) performance and the 2018 work programme and budget for the COMESA Secretariat, institutions and agencies.
Delegates will examine the consolidated internal audit report which highlights areas that the secretariat is working on to enhance corporate governance and institutional systems
They will also review the internal financial controls ranging from strengthening of financial reporting, external audit, report on internal controls findings and new policy instruments.
Participants comprise technical officers from governments of the 19 COMESA member states. Their report will be presented to the 37th meeting of the COMESA Intergovernmental Committee and eventually to the Council of Ministers meeting next week for decision making.
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