Local governments should spearhead the socio-economic transformation towards sustainable development within the Rwandan community, Ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has said.
Ndangiza was speaking on Thursday at the opening of a two-day policy dialogue for the Self-reliance of Local Governments in Karongi District, Western province.
The dialogue, organised by RGB, brought together over 90 officials drawn from various levels of administration and institutions from across the western provinces. Such dialogues will be held in all provinces and the City of Kigali, according to officials.
The meeting discussed strategies to increase local revenues towards the enhancement of local economic development.
Amb. Ndangiza told the leaders that as decentralisation policy enters its third phase, local governments will play a key role in the generation of revenues to fund their development and that of the country in general.
“The money is within us,” Ndangiza said. “What is important is to come up with strategies to maximise opportunities that lie within our hands.”
Ndangiza observed that about 85 per cent of the local governments’ budget still comes from the central government and noted the need to reverse that trend towards building self-sustaining entities.
Ndangiza said enhancing local investments is one way toward building self-sustained entities in the local government and singled out several home-grown initiatives that she said have proven successful in transforming people’s lives-such as the Vision 2020, Umurenge programme (VUP), Ubudehe and Agaciro Development Fund, among other initiatives.
Enhancing public-private partnership
The Government is currently implementing the third phase of its decentralisation policy. Assessments have shown that during the last two phases of the policy, a lot was achieved especially towards the improvement of service delivery at the local level. However, officials warn that a lot remains to be done particularly on enhancing local economic development.
During this phase, more efforts and resources will be put on enhancement of local economic development, Ndangiza told Saturday Times.
Though a significant portion of the financial resources for the day-to-day functioning and investments of the local governments are still obtained from the central government, officials believe that with proper planning and putting in place appropriate mechanisms for revenue and capital mobilisation, the share of own revenues will be significantly increased at local levels.
“The enhanced partnership will usher us into a new era which will boost our productivity and development while at the same time contributing to improving people’s livelihoods,” observed Celestin Kabahizi, the Western Province Governor.
“Self-reliance is not a mere dream. With determination, proper planning, better management of available resources and the involvement of citizens we can reach where we aspire to be.”