A new Tanzania Citizen report notes that international oil investors are showing increasing interest in East African Community (EAC) partner states. Still hurdles remain as revenue collection, tax planning and macro-fiscal policies — among other financial issues — remain a challenge for several states.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) joined the EAC in hosting a workshop titled Fiscal Management of Oil and Natural Gas, which covered the above issues and touched on bolstering revenue from natural resources, budgeting and legitimate financial frameworks, the report said.
The workshop, which took place between January 15-17, was held at Arusha’s Mount Meru Hotel.
According to Davis Chirchir, Energy and Petroleum cabinet secretary for Kenya, the workshop is necessary “due to the fact that the EA region is rapidly emerging as the preferred investment destination by international oil companies.”
“I am happy that the IMF team and the EAC Secretariat have, through this workshop, provided East Africa with the forum to benefit from the invaluable knowledge, skills and experience that the IMF team has built over a long period of time,’’ he said, noting that commercial production and hiking up the numbers of oil wells for exploration are initiatives the region looks to tackle.
Aston P. Kajara, Uganda’s minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, told workshop attendees that policies implemented now will have a lasting effect on generations. As equally important, Kajara said that more talks on fiscal plans and natural resource management need to take place.
“I look forward to the ensuing discussions as we marshal experiences on how best to manage these new revenues in ways that can expand our economies and consolidate and build on the gains that have been made in living standards over the past decade in EAC Partner States,” he said.
New oil finds across the EAC make management frameworks and solid plans essential, EAC Secretary General Dr. Richard Sezibera said.
“The EAC region is bound to take off to the emerging economies if the revenues from natural resources are well managed,” he said. “Compounded with the establishment of the single currency and adherence to prudent and sound fiscal and monetary policies.”
The new framework, Sezibera noted, will trickle down to a better economic outlook for all EAC partner states.