AU, donors slash Pan-African parliament budgets

The African Union (AU) has cut budget funding for the Pan African Parliament for the 2020 financial year by $4 million.

In May, the Parliament during its plenary sitting in Midrand, South Africa approved and presented to the Au a budget request of $20,7 million (Shs 75.9bn) which was however slashed by the AU executive council to $16,4 million (Shs 59.8bn).

The AU Executive Council is composed of Foreign Ministers of the African Union member states. It has the mandate of coordinating as well as taking decisions on policies in areas of common interest to member states and is answerable to the assembly of Heads of state and government.

There are fears that the budget cut is to affect the smooth running of the programs of the continental Parliament since the available funds are not enough to appropriately facilitate the activities that the continental Parliament undertakes to fulfill its mandate.

The cuts will affect staff costs, missions, communications, procurement, stationery, bank charges, capital expenditure and the programme budget.

The programme budget envelopes parliamentary sessions, statutory and non-statutory meetings, conference for Speakers, women and clerks, ratification of AU legal instruments, climate change, public hearing the women conference, Bureau and MPs allowances among others.

The Parliament’s president, Roger Nkodo Dang, faulted the AU for the cuts.

“Without the work of committees, the money will not be used. It is the AU to blame because they are the ones that reduce our budget if it is not spent. If MPs do not work, we shall close this Parliament,” Nkodo said.

James Kakooza (Uganda) argued that despite the challenges the PAP is going to face with the budget cuts, the PAP also needs to improve on its financial and management practice as seen from various reports on the institution.

The budget cuts are a result of a decision taken by the AU assembly of the Heads of state and government to downsize the overall AU budget by $32 million (Shs 116.8bn).

The PAP also hit another funding snag when its proposed European Commission partner funded programme budget for 2020 of $1 million (Shs 3.6bn) for the new African Governance Architecture (AGA) was cut by nearly half to $575,000 (Shs 2.09bn) so as to remain within the overall budget ceiling provided as well as comply with the requirement to reduce dependence on external funding for programmes.