EAC under fire for failing to integrate its IT investments

Tuesday January 8 2019

 

By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3 news@tz.nationmedia.com

Arusha. The East African Community (EAC) is under fire for non-integration of investments in its Information Technology (IT) sector, leading to higher costs.

A host of organs and institutions of the regional organisation have continued to acquire and maintain IT applications independent of each other without being centrally done.

This, according to the recently released report of the Committee of Accounts of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala), has led to wastage of resources.

“The systems are not integrated to share information between them and also with external critical systems such as the banking systems to ease transactions involving Electronic Funds Transfer,” it pointed out. Currently, the EAC headquarters in Arusha has over 17 IT systems, sourced through different development partners and managed by different departments, units and projects.

The report cited there were $8,277,904 investments made by the Community in the IT equipment in 2016/17 financial year. However, the lawmakers claimed that the acquisition process was not transparent.

“Management of IT investments or solutions was carried out by respective departments that acquired them without the IT department’s control,” stated the report, which was availed to The Citizen.

The aforementioned money was spent on the purchase of the IT intangible assets and computer, and telecommunication equipment. It excluded expenditure related to maintenance, licensing and training. They noted without proper tracking and recording of the IT investments, the department may not be in a position to adequately assess the returns.

“Without a structured IT investments approach strategy, it will be difficult for the management to make informed decisions on insurance of the IT infrastructure,” they further observed.

The committee called on the EAC management to compile a comprehensive IT Investment strategy for the organisation in order to safeguard its IT investments. “ICT hardware, software, services and supporting infrastructure should be procured in a way that is driven by information and communications technology needs,” it added.

Weakness in IT governance was also cited as among factors, which have failed the EAC to fully align its activities with the required technologies,” the Eala members argued, calling on the regional body to create more positions for the IT staff.

“IT may not be receiving adequate support from the EAC management while the organisation’s specific guidelines and procedures have not been reviewed since 2012.

“This may hinder EAC from leveraging on IT to achieve its mandate.”