Lawmakers have said that public entities should take measures to expedite the use of funds allocated in the national budget in order to avoid carrying forward a lot of unused money into the next fiscal year, as it negatively affects people’s welfare. They made the remarks on Tuesday, April 25, as the lower house approved the report of its Committee on National Budget and Patrimony about the discussions it held with districts, provinces and the City of Kigali with a view to knowing the budget execution rate for the first half of 2022-2023. ALSO READ: National budget expected to boost economy, tame commodity prices The Chairperson of the Committee, MP Omar Munyaneza, said that though there are still issues to address, the Committee commends the progress that continues being made in budget execution based on citizens’ needs to ensure that projects – mainly in infrastructure – which fast-tract development, are available to them. ALSO READ: REVISED BUDGET: Govt spending increases by Rwf106bn “The Committee realises that entities responsible for budget spending should devise strategies intended to ensure that the revised Rwf4,764.8 billion budget is fully and effectively executed so that all the planned for activities are implemented, because, until January 2023, the budget execution rate at the national level was at 59 per cent for the budget that was approved in June 2022,” he said. “In order to avoid a situation where public entities carry forward a lot of unused funds into the next fiscal year, districts and the City of Kigali were requested to take measures meant to expedite the use of the Rwf1,173.6 billion budget, because the execution rate was 66 per cent [equivalent to Rwf610.9 billion] in February 2023.” He said that leaders of districts and the city of Kigali indicated activities or projects that were removed or added to the plans for the fiscal year under review and the reason for that. Overall, he said, it was observed that there are many activities for which funding was increased to improve the welfare of people. As noted, these include the increase of teachers’ salaries, financing for school feeding programmes and funds that help schools – capitation grants – as well as social protection. ALSO READ: Teachers’ salaries take lion share of revised national budget Some of the identified issues Concerning public procurement, the Committee said that there was still an issue of an independent appeal committee which delays providing responses on some tenders for which appeals were made, as observed in the districts of Musanze and Muhanga. Also, it exposed delays in granting legal opinions by the Ministry of Justice that are required on some tenders, which hinders the implementation of the projects in question. This was observed in the districts of Ngororero, Nyabihu, Musanze and Gicumbi. MP Diogene Bitunguramye said that the delay in granting legal opinions on tenders – which are normally needed for any tender exceeding Rwf500 million – “is a problem that can hold back project implementation and budget execution.” He wanted to know why that is the case and what strategies were devised to solve it. In response, MP Munyaneza noted that the Ministry of Justice told lawmakers that the issue stems from insufficient personnel to work on many projects that seek legal opinion, but that it was going to do its best so that such advice can be given within 15 days.