The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat has prepared a scaled-down budget for 2021 to leverage on information technology in carrying out its activities.
The decision was informed by the performance of this year’s budget, which recorded significant savings under meetings, workshops and conferences, which constitutes a significant percentage of the expenditure.
The adoption of virtual meetings was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretariat now intends to continue harnessing the power of information technology through virtual meetings.
In the proposed budget for 2021, which will be presented to the 41st meeting of the Council of Ministers on Thursday 26 November 2020, the Secretariat proposes a reduction of at least one million dollars from the current budget. The benefit will be passed on to Member States governments in their annual subscriptions to the organization.
Speaking when she addressed delegates attending the 41st Meeting of the COMESA Administrative and Budget Committee, Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe said: “In adjusting the 2021 budget downwards, the Secretariat, its institutions and the COMESA Court of Justice took cognizance of the economic challenges that our Member States are facing.”
She thanked Member States which remitted their annual contributions and arrears to the Secretariat during the year despite the numerous economic challenges they faced.
“This demonstrates the confidence bestowed upon us in the delivery of COMESA’s mandate,” she added.
The Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Matters assists the Inter-Governmental Committee and the Council of Ministers to exercise its oversight role on audit, administrative, budgetary, financial and human resources matters.
During the three days meeting the Committee received, among others, the progress report on the proposed organizational restructuring. Significant work in this area, which include designing a lean organization structure, review of job descriptions and conducting a skills audit has been undertaken.
The Secretariat is also strengthening its systems, structures and processes through numerous initiatives among them, Business Process Re-engineering (BPR). The BPR is aimed at simplifying and integrating organizational processes in preparation for automation in order to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency.