AFRICA -African Union troops in Somalia have not been paid allowances for more than five months, as the effects of funding cuts by the European Union bite.
On Monday, the EU said it had not released the money to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) due to complex approval procedures that had resulted from a constrained budget.
Mr Gary Quince, the head of the EU Delegation to the AU, told the Nation that a shortage of funds was the reason behind a pile of unpaid allowances.
“Funding cuts means there is a shortage and that has taken time to get the necessary approvals to release the money,” the diplomat said from Addis Ababa.
“It means decision-making takes long but we hope to get funds in a couple of months.”
The EU is the main financier of Amisom, committing about €1.2 billion ($1.33 billion) since 2007.
About half of that, €575 million ($634 million) has been used to cover the forces’ allowances, costs for the police component of the mission and international and local civilian staff salaries.
Early this year, the EU cut that funding by 20 per cent citing a constrained budget and new security needs.
Those cuts were to take effect from this month, but it has not released any money. It is supposed to be paying $2.2 million every month.
“We expect to reach an agreement with the AU by September, after which the payment will be backdated to January,” Mr Quince said.
Lack of accountability
The European bloc cited budgetary approvals, but the BBC on Monday reported that lack of accountability on the part of Amisom was behind the funding delay.