Arusha. The Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) headquarter project in Kisumu, Kenya is far from taking off due to a shortage of funds.
Only $46,314 has been raised by different partners for the construction out of $3.5 million required, according to a recent report. LVBC is an institution of the East African Community (EAC) established in 2003 to coordinate sustainable development of resources within the shared lake and its basin.
Economic and allied programmes include promoting maritime transport and safety and initiating poverty alleviation efforts through improved fisheries, among others. A report on the audited accounts of the EAC indicated that fundraising was far from reaching the target to enable the project to take off in earnest.
“Since the completion of the fencing in 2012, the development of the HQ office has been on hold,” said the latest report on EAC Audited Accounts availed to The Citizen.
In order to facilitate mobilisation of funds, in July 2016 the EAC Council of Ministers directed the Commission to open a separate account for the HQ project funds. This was duly done but until the time of audit in the middle of last year, it had only $ 46,314 while the estimated construction cost was $ 3.5 million.
Due to the slow pace of fund mobilisation, the Commission had alternative plans which, according to the report, are to be submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval. One of them is to direct the EAC partner states to make equal contributions towards the construction of the institution’s headquarters in Kisumu.
Latest estimates after the just completed technical drawings indicate the project costs had risen by $ 400,000 to $ 3.54m. The Accounts Committee of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) had recommended that funds should also be solicited from the development partners as well. LVBC is one of scores of EAC institutions spread across the region and the only one based in Kenya.
During the 2018/2019 financial budget, it topped the list of institutions with an allocation of $ 13.3 million for its expenditure. The other EAC institutions are East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC) and the East African Science and Technology Commission (Easteco).
Others include East African Fisheries Organization (LVFO), the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) and the EA Kiswahili Commission, among others.