KIGALI - The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning James Musoni yesterday presented the 2008 budget estimates at the Parliamentary Buildings, Kimihurura with a general increment of 15 percent compared to the 2007 budget.
The 2008 budget is estimated at Frw607.5 billion, compared to Frw527.9bn in the 2007 estimates, with a recurrent budget of Frw365bn. Frw227billion is budgeted for development.
According to Musoni, the government’s contribution to the development budget is expected to be 51 percent, while 49 percent will be raised from foreign aid. Musoni told the august House that Frw18.5 billion will be spent on paying internal debts obtained within the country and that the amount includes interest rate, while 7.7 billion will be spent on paying foreign debts.
The 2008 budget has a provision of paying arrears with Frw 7billion while the government is planning to spend Frw 8.2 billion on net lending.
Minister Musoni said: “This year’s budget focuses on improving infrastructure particularly road construction and energy which increase the money allocated to the sector from Frw 87 billion to 102 billion.”
The amount is expected among other to be spent on the re-constructed and renovated of 12 roads. The rehabilitation of those roads will facilitate regional and international integration.
This is highly significant as Rwanda is a landlocked country Agriculture got an increment of 37 percent rising from Frw 19 billion in 2007 to Frw 26 billion in 2008.
Fertilizers got the biggest share with Frw 3.7 followed by the construction of terraces which will take Frw 2.1 billion. A huge increase has been made in the investment sector with Frw12bn compare to last year where only Frw 10 million was allocated to the sector.
Education has as always increased by 6 percent from Frw97billion allocated to the sector this year to 103 for the FY 2008.
The health sector was allocated Frw 58.6 billion from Frw 48.4billion.
However, according to statistics, some government organs, including the Prime Minister’s with hold three ministries-The Premier’s office, the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Gender and Family Planning, had their budgets slashed.
The Prime Minister’s Office has a decrease of 16.7 percent from Frw5.9 billion to Frw 5billon.
The Ministry of Justice has its allocation reduced by 33pecent; from Frw10 billion to Frw8 billion.
Musoni justified the cut saying that the Gacaca Jurisdiction is in its ending process and that there was no need to allocate much money in the Ministry of Justice that under which Gacaca courts operate.
On the Prime Minister’s Office, Musoni, said that there is a project in the Prime Minster office funded by the African Development Bank (ABD) that is supposed to promote women and it is ending this year.
However, critics wondered why there was a decrease in the same time when a Disaster and Preparedness Unit in the Premier’s Office is facing great tasks of resettling returnees and people displaced by floods recently.
In provinces, apart from the Eastern Province that has neither increase nor decrease other provinces’ broad expenditure has decrease.