MPs approve measures to protect economy
MEMBERS of parliament on Friday appreciated the measures put in place by government to protect the country’s economy against the global financial crisis during the upcoming fiscal year.
This came up during presentation of a reviewed budget framework paper for the fiscal year 2012-13by the budget committee to a parliamentary session.
According to the committee chairperson, Constance Rwaka Mukayuhi, these measures are embedded in the framework to cushion the economy against external shocks such as the Euro-zone crisis.
“They showed us how we are going to fight off these global problems because, as you all know, all major economies in the euro zone have been shattered. They are our trade partners and the crisis there seems to be continuously on the increase and we must set firm strategies,” she said.
An ongoing European sovereign debt crisis has made it difficult, or impossible, for some countries in the euro zone to re-finance their government debt.
According to reports, in a speech on Saturday, billionaire investor George Soros said Euro-zone governments have around three months to ensure the survival of their single currency.
“We are at an inflection point. After the expiration of the three months’ window, the markets will continue to demand more but the authorities will not be able to meet their demands,” Soros warned in a speech at the Festival of Economics in Trento, Italy.
One of the key promising strategies, Mukayuhi noted, is in export diversification.
She said: “We shall not solely depend on coffee, tea and minerals for export, there are other products that have been identified in the agricultural sector such as horticulture. And we shall again re-look these things later when we embark on a sector by sector analysis of the budget.”
“Another plan is increasing industries in the country. There is a plan, for example to establish manufacturing plants in Nyagatare and in Muhanga, which will make tiles, the cassava processing plant in Ruhango, and other smaller ones.”
Another thing is the effort being put in rice which government has made a priority area with a target already set to make the country not only self-sufficient, but also an export of the produce.
Mukayuhi said another promising plan is in the expansion in air transport, by putting more emphasis and support in the country’s only carrier – RwandAir.
Estimates in the draft budget framework paper indicate that the government will spend Rwf651.1 billion on development projects such as roads and energy.
This is a 4.6 per cent increase from the current development budget – Rwf508.6 billion (42.6 per cent of the 2011/12 overall budget).
The budget is Rwf1, 378.4 trillion, representing 29 per cent of the country’s nominal GDP and an additional Rwf184.2 billion compared to the current budget which is Rwf1, 194.2 trillion.
Contact email: james.karuhanga[at]newtimes.co.rw