African envoys study $124m AU budget

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), comprising African ambassadors to the African Union (AU), Tuesday began deliberations on the budget of the continental body ahead of a heads of state summit convening here 29-30 January.
The PRC, whose main work is to moderate proposals submitted by states, institutions of the AU and the other ministerial meetings, was working to streamline a US$124 million budget, sources told PANA.
In what diplomats described as the most "crucial part" of the two-day meeting, lobbying among the various political groupings of the AU preceded the budget deliberations.
"The most crucial thing is to work out a budget for the (AU) Commission.
We held previous meetings at the sub-committee levels and we have worked out recommendations to give resources for the Commission," Kenyan ambassador to the AU, Franklin Esipila, told PANA on the sidelines of the meeting.
He said the meeting had worked out how the AU Commission would finance its projects and had confirmed funding from diverse sources to make the organization self-sufficient.
"There are two elements to the budget, those sponsored by member states and programmes sponsored by donors," the Kenyan envoy explained.
Sources said Algeria, Egypt, Lesotho and Zambia had registered reservations over this year's budget proposals to cut the allocation of funds to the Pan African Parliament, one of the flagship projects of the AU, based in Midrand, South Africa.
But African Parliamentarians attending the budget session Tuesday expressed reservations at the amount of money proposed for the running of the Parliament, saying if the proposed increase of the PAP budget was not executed, its programmes would be affected.
"The issue is that the PRC is giving us a budget based on what they approved last year, but the Heads of State Summit increased the budget last year from US$5.
8 million to US$9.
1 million," Kenyan Parliamentarian Wycliffe Oparanya, the Chairman of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) Finance Committee, told PANA.
AU experts said they had confirmed the availability of funds from foreign donor institutions, including bilateral support from European governments, but noted that African states were also expected to contribute to the running of the core projects.
The PRC has pegged its budgetary allocation to the Pan African assembly based on its approved budget of US$5.
8 million, but the Parliament has worked out its current budget based on the US$9.
1 million budget, given by the African leaders last year.

23 january 2007 16:53:00

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