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newtimes - 10 days ago

Budget: MPs identify gaps needing over Rwf380bn for next fiscal year

The Chamber of Deputies has requested the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to align national budget on ongoing development projects, arrears and gaps that were identified during the assessment of the proposed budget for 2021/2022. The resolution was made on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 during a plenary session during which MPs adopted inputs to the Budget Framework Paper and medium term budget estimates for fiscal years 2021/22-2023/24. MP Omar Munyaneza, the Chairperson of the Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, which analysed the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, indicated that his Committee found that there are 215 urgent funding gaps that require Rwf389.3 billion, representing 10.2 percent of the proposed Rwf3,807 billion budget for 2021/2022. Those gaps include 173 projects which require Rwf311.2 billion – accounting for 8.2 percent of the proposed spending, which Munyaneza said should be considered while preparing the draft law governing the national budget for 2021/2022. There are also 42 gaps that need Rwf78.1 billion, or 2 percent of financial plan, which the Committee said should be catered for in the last two years of MTEF (meaning 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 fiscal years). The Committee also underscored the need to focus on projects that fast-track the implementation of the first phase of the National Strategy for Transformation (NST) which is the Government s seven-year development oriented programme running from 2017 through 2024. Some of the financing gaps, including arrears  Munyaneza told the Plenary Session that some of the gaps that should be addressed in the 2021/2022 include Rwf1.5 billion to build houses for residents affected by disasters in Nyamasheke District of Western Province, including 42 families who have been accommodated in church buildings.   There is also Rwf243 million to relocate the buildings of Coko health centre in Nyaruguru District of Southern Province because it is within the site where the asphalt road being constructed by the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) will pass. Regarding sports infrastructure, Rwf7.1 billion is needed to pay the arrears owed for the construction of Bugesera, Ngoma and Nyagatare stadiums in Eastern Province. In Northern Province, the budget shortfalls include Rwf1.3 billion to expropriate residents to pave way for the expansion of the University of Global Health Equity in Burera District. For City of Kigali, one of the major issues facing the City management is how to pay Rwf6.9 billion owed to contractors.   The Ministry of Sports faces 12 gaps which need over Rwf1.3 billion to help it host and participate in international sporting events in which Rwanda committed to partake in 2021/2022, including AfroBasket – men s basketball continental championship contested by the senior national teams in Africa. In health sector, there is a gap of Rwf25.1 billion. This includes Rwf361.5 million for buying new equipment to replace old one for neonatal care to premature babies at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali. Still in health sector, Rwf493.1 million is required to buy medicines needed for patient care at Ndera Psychiatric Hospital. Agriculture sector faces 10 financing gaps, and they require over Rwf28.2 billion to be filled, including Rwf3.3 billion to pay arrears that the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) owes to contractors for completed agriculture-related works, and Rwf9 billion for increasing productivity of selected crops under the Crop Intensification programme (CIP). This funding shortfall also includes the deficit in lime programme financing. MP MP Diogene Bitunguramye said that salaries for public staff should be prioritised, pointing to instances of gaps in salary allocations. “Salaries for employees should be the top priority because they are the main enabler for the fulfillment of public mandate,” he said. MP Leonard Ndagijimana said that agriculture and public investment are important to the country’s economy, wondering why they were allocated less funding [compared to the overall budget]. “Agriculture was allocated Rwf139.7 billion, while public investment was allocated Rwf114.3 billion, yet, those sectors are important to the country’s economy, he said. It is from agriculture that we get export commodities to generate export revenues. And, it is through investment that we can develop our manufacturing industry so that we make products to enable us to reduce imports for trade balance,” he said.


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