National budget set to increase by 16 per cent

The Government plans to spend over Rwf2.4 trillion in the upcoming financial year (2018/19), which starts in July, representing a 16 per cent increase from the current 2017/18 budget (over Rwf2.1trillon).

The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, made the disclosure to a joint parliamentary session yesterday as he presented the Budget Framework Paper (BFP).

The resource allocation is in line with the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), a new national blueprint that will help achieve the remaining targets under Vision 2020 as well as set the tone for Vision 2050.

Ndagijimana said next fiscal’s budget will be domestically financed to the tune of 84 per cent, which takes the country a step closer to fully financing its own budget.

Meanwhile, the minister told lawmakers that development expenditure is estimated to take Rwf897.1 billion while Rwf1.3 trillion will go towards recurrent expenditure.

“Net lending is projected at Rwf190 billion which will be used to finance key government projects such as construction of Bugesera airport and expansion of RwandAir operations,” the minister said.

Ndagijimana added that the implementation of the Made-in-Rwanda policy will continue to play a key role in narrowing the current account deficit in the short- to long-run and help to consolidate private sector domestic activities.

Some of key pillars which government will focus on include quality education through construction and renovation of classrooms (primary and secondary schools), construction of TVET schools, and equipping them with modern training equipment.

“We will also work to improve teachers’ welfare through Umwalimu Savings and Credit Cooperative (Umwalimu-Sacco) and support University of Rwanda in bid to further improve education and research quality,” he noted.

In the health sector, government plans to take services closer to the people, Ndagijimana said, adding that they intend to construct hospitals in Gatonde, Gahunda, Nyabikenke and Munini.

“We will also continue to strengthen poverty reduction interventions through Vision Umurenge Programme (VUP), the Fund for Support of Genocide Survivors (FARG), and Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission,” he said.

To fight malnutrition, the Government plans to provide fortified foods to over 75,000 children and over 50,000 pregnant mothers, he said.

A total of 216,717 jobs are expected to be created in 2018/2019 through the National Employment Programme while hands-on skills will be enhanced to match the demands of the labour market, the minister told lawmakers.

The Government will also promote small and medium enterprises, he added.

In infrastructure, emphasis will be put on developing model villages in rural and urban settings, revising the master plans for the City of Kigali and secondary cities, as well as improving public transport in Kigali, he said.

Ndagijimana said there were also plans to construct more feeder roads to help farmers access the market easier.

He said government will also allocate more funds toward the Kigali Innovation City and Rwanda Innovation Fund.

The minister said the economy is expected to grow by 7.2 per cent next year.

Members of Parliament welcomed the Budget Framework Paper but some wondered why several crucial projects have stalled yet the country is increasingly taking charge of its own budget.

The proposal will be scrutinised at the parliamentary committee level before it is put to a vote.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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