Gender-responsive budgeting: a tough pill for ministries to swallow

Gender, Gender-responsive budgeting, ministries
Johnson Rukundo, a researcher presenting findings of a study on gender-responsive budgeting

A study conducted on five high-spending ministries and five districts by Rwanda Civil Society Platform (RCSP) in partnership with Trocaire Rwanda points at loopholes in their Gender Budget Statements (GBSs).

GBS is a tool to drive and track the closing of gender gaps across all sectors. It was presented to stakeholders Thursday, December 12th at Lemigo Hotel.

 

RCSP notes that the bigger share of the budget a ministry takes, the less elaborative are their GBSs to inform the assessment of gender mainstreaming.

 

MINECOFFIN (Ministry of finance and economic planning) - the captain of budget partitioning - seemingly provides informing data despite gender imbalances present in its subprogrammes.

 

For instance, nearly 80 per cent of all loans issued in the fiscal year 2019 - 2020 was directed at men and the ministry explained that the colossal gender gap in access to finance results from lack of collateral for women to access loans. Furthermore, only 37 per cent of women benefited from credits offered by BDF (Business Development Fund).

A statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) also raised eyebrows. Despite over 80 per cent of Rwandans depending on farming and 60 per cent of them being women, males dominate the coffee industry at 68 per cent.

 

(L-R) Modeste Sibomana - Trocaire Rwanda, John Bosco Nyemazi - RCSP, Xaverine Mukaneza - MINIJUST, Zachée  Iyakaremye- MINECOFFIN during a panel discussion after the presentation of study findings.

Girls enrollment in science subjects in secondary schools is at 55 per cent but shrinks down to less than 40 per cent in higher education, a reason being lack of science laboratories which negatively affect their performance at national exams, according to the Ministry of Education.

Another unfortunate interesting finding is from the justice sector. 54 per cent of all cases received by Abunzi Mediation System was reported by females. Xaverine Mukaneza, a representative from the Ministry of Justice observed the disparity originates from the less involvement of women in income-generating activities. Thus, she explained, women report cases to Abunzi because they lack means to go through court requirements such as hiring lawyers.

Gaps were also identified in external and internal trade under the Ministry of Commerce, but no figures were provided in their statements. 

A common major enemy to sustained gender-responsive planning is the “understanding” of gender itself by planners (budget technicians) and policymakers.

John Bosco Nyemazi, Executive Secretary of Rwanda Civil Society said: “There is a lack of capacity of conducting a thorough gender situational analysis and also allocating budgets in a manner that fills the gap in question”.

Nyemazi calls on all actors and stakeholders as well as civil society organs to advocate so that informative analyses are conducted before decisions are made and budget proposals finalized.

At the district level, four of the five districts under study share the same problem: inconsistency in budget allocations to programs and subprogrammes. Funds allocated to agriculture one fiscal year, for example, are scrapped to another programme in the next year.

 

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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