Kiswahili, integration top EAC Ministry agenda

The Ministry for East African Community Affairs (MEACA) is seeking Shs3.25 billion for coordination and promotion of Kiswahili as an official language.

This was revealed in the recommendations of the report of the Committee on the East African Community Affairs on the sector Ministerial Policy Statement for Financial Year 2023/24.

The report presented to the House on Wednesday, 19 April 2023 by the Chairperson, Hon. Kisembo Basemera cited the lack of a uniting language [Kiswahili] as a huge stumbling block to communication and the EAC integration process.

According to Basemera, the ministry requires a total of Shs38.3 billion to implement its mandate of steering Uganda's regional integration agenda in accordance with the objectives of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and its implementation through the four pillars of  Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation.

She however, noted with dismay, the decline in the budget, which she said coupled with delayed remittance of funds leads to ineffective implementation of activities.

Several legislators agreed with the committee on the need for the Ministry of Finance to implement recommendations adopted by the House to reduce the funding gap and enable the ministry carry out its activities effectively.

National Youth Representative, Hon. Phiona Nyamutoro said that last year, cabinet passed a resolution under the revised curriculum that Kiswahili as a language be made compulsory in both primary and secondary schools.
“Priorities like education that are fundamental to the development of the country should not be neglected. The Ministry of Finance has overtime cut the budget of education at the cost of our children and this needs urgent interventions,” she said.

Ntoroko County MP, Hon. Rwemulikya Ibanda urged the House to prevail over the Ministry of Finance for failing to recognize the need for promotion of a common market.
“Am surprised the Ministry of Finance does not see that the EAC has expanded. Uganda has potential to sell its goods and services to these countries but people lack information. The additional money should be provided”, he said.

The plight of EAC retirees was brought to light by Masaka Kimaanya Constituency MP, Hon. Abed Bwanika who reiterated the call to avail Shs10 billion to pay former employees of the defunct EAC whose files have been fully verified or fully reconstructed.