Govt contests defence spending allegations

FINANCE - The Secretary General in finance ministry John Rwangombwa said that Defence and security spending has decreased from 3.3 percent in 2000 to 1.8 percent currently.

BY GERTRUDE MAJYAMBERE

 

FINANCE - The Secretary General in finance ministry John Rwangombwa said that Defence and security spending has decreased from 3.3 percent in 2000 to 1.8 percent currently.

The remarks come after a UN Human Development Report claimed that government is spending more money on defence and security than agriculture, the backbone of the economy.

But government says the report has several inaccuracies.

He said that about Frw 33 billion is allocated for defence and security in this years’ annual budget, contributing to 6.2 percent of the total budget.

Quoting the report, ‘Almost 10% of Official Development Assistance (US$50 million per year) goes to defence and public order, almost twice the amount going to agriculture’.

Government says the agreement signed between the government of Rwanda and development partners specifies that funds provided through direct budget support never finance the defence budget.

It’s important to note that Rwanda’s official military expenditures have decreased significantly over the last decade and now in line with international averages and below regional average.

According to the amended overview of the UN and GOR agreed upon, the figure was calculated on the basis of the erroneous assumptions that aid channeled through the National Budget would be spent in exact proportion with the general budget.

The government priority areas are education, health, infrastructure development, water and sanitation and agriculture.

In this years’ budget, education took the lion’s share with Frw 82.2 billion, while infrastructural development was allocated Frw60.9 billion from the total budget of Frw493 billion.

“We don’t intend to hide expenditures on defence and security but we have a remarkable drop, or even hide figures on poverty levels because we have different strategies towards reducing poverty,” he said.

The government says the report has several inaccuracies because of the data that was got from unreliable sources like data referred to 1994 and immediately after the Genocide. 

“We truly agree with some figures in the report but our concern is how the data was interpreted,” said the State Minister in charge of economic planning, Monique Nsanzabaganwa.

The minister added that most of the information compares the period before 1994 and the current situation, which doesn’t give a proper trend for reliable interpretation.

The Director General of National Institute of Statistics Louis Munyakazi emphasised that figures do not give a true story but another batch of information is needed to give the message in statistics.

Other changes that need to be revised include, ‘Rwanda is close to covering its investment needs to achieve MDGs’, a statement said to contradict the finding of the report, which reads that scale-up of aid of US$10-25  per capita per year would be required to cover the investment needs to achieve MDGs in Rwanda.
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