Different socio-economic and governance projects and activities face 71 gaps, which require Rwf226.4 billion – equivalent to 4.5 per cent of the proposed national budget for 2023/2024 – to support their effective implementation in the next fiscal year, which will commence on July 1, Parliament has said. The observation was made on May 26, when the plenary sitting of the Chamber of Deputies adopted Parliament’s inputs on the budget framework paper for the fiscal year 2023/2024, which should be considered in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, with a view to meet national priorities. ALSO READ: Rwanda plans to spend over Rwf5 trillion in 2023/24 The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, MP Omar Munyaneza, said that the selection of the gaps focused on factors including agricultural projects with the potential to fast-track food security, and already undertaken projects, and are ongoing so that they do not stall. Also, he said, they are projects that speed up the government’s seven-year programme — National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), as well as presidential pledges to residents, among others. Munyaneza indicated that of all the 71 urgent gaps, 52 gaps amounting to more than Rwf173 billion should be catered for at the beginning (first half) of the next fiscal year. Again, he said, 15 gaps that require Rwf49 billion should be catered for during the beginning of the next fiscal year, or during budget revision which is due in February 2024, while four gaps needing Rwf3.6 billion can be catered for only during the budget revision. Some of the identified gaps Data from Parliament shows that in the National Child Development Agency (NCDA), there was a funding deficit of almost Rwf6 billion concerning the procurement and distribution of Fortified Blended Food (Shisha Kibondo) for adequate dietary supplementation for maternal and child nutrition. This is intended to tackle malnutrition among pregnant and breastfeeding mothers from vulnerable families, as well as curb stunting among their children. In education, gaps include Rwf12 billion which was lacking in line with the implementation of the school feeding programme. This is the case because the Ministry of Education had requested Rwf90 billion for this initiative, but Rwf78 billion was allocated. Under the Rwanda Housing Authority, while Rwf9.6 billion was required for the construction of Huye Stadium (Phase2), it was suffering a financing gap of Rwf7.1 billion. During the budget hearing on May 11, the Minister of Sports, Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju, said that the funding was needed to increase the stadium seat capacity from the current 7,800 to 10,000 in order to meet FIFA standards and be eligible to host international games. In the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), the National Strategic Grain Reserve – meant to deal with food shortage due to circumstances such as disasters – had a funding shortfall of Rwf7.9 billion. In the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), Crop Intensification Project (CIP), seed subsidies lacked Rwf14.7 billion. Also, Livestock Intensification Program (LIP) faced a gap of Rwf9.8 billion. On May 9, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ildephone Musafiri, told Members of Parliament that the Livestock Intensification Programme would be negatively affected by inadequate funding for vaccination if nothing was done to address the issue. The project was allocated only Rwf3.9 billion, while Rwf12.1 billion was needed. With limited financing, he said, only 31 per cent of the targeted livestock animals would be immunised, leaving the majority (69 per cent) at risk of diseases or epidemics that could negatively impact livestock output, including cattle milk production. ALSO READ: Agriculture budget shrinks, raising concerns over food security In the Ministry of Emergency Management, there was a lack of Rwf463 million for purchasing relief and recovery items) to equip strategic stores in order to offer timely support to disaster-affected residents. “After discussing these gaps and how the Committee thinks they should be addressed, the Minister of State in charge of the National Treasury, Richard Tusabe, told the Committee that the identified gaps have valid reasons. He promised that they will be catered for while drawing up the draft State budget law for the fiscal year 2023/2024,” MP Munyaneza said.