Budget: Agriculture, health, education get extra funding

A solar-powered irrigation system in Nasho, Eastern Province. In the 2020/21 budget, the agriculture sector got Rwf30.1 billion more funding intended to support efforts to ensure food security. / Photo: File.

Over Rwf187 billion was taken from the recurrent budget to finance development projects, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana has said.

Ndagijimana was speaking while tabling the budget for the 2020/21 fiscal year .

 

The Minister thanked lawmakers for their contribution in the assessment of the national budget based on the country’s top priorities, including the Government national strategy for transformation.

 

“The pieces of advice that were given by the parliament based on lawmakers’ assessment were received and considered in the budget planning,” the Minister said.

 

“We continued to analyse the budget, and made some reductions from the recurrent budget so that we make increments to the development budget,” he observed.

During the budget hearing on June 5, lawmakers indicated that the national financial plan was facing a Rwf216.5 billion funding gap.

Sectors which received additional funding in the budget

Minister Ndagijimana said that the agriculture sector got Rwf30.1 billion more funding intended to support efforts to ensure food security.

In May, agriculture funding was cut by 35 percent in the proposed budget; something MPs said would adversely affect the sector’s productivity.  

In education, the Minister said, the construction of new classrooms, and school feeding programmes received an additional Rwf89.9 billion.

For the health sector, Rwf10 billion was added to the efforts to increase medical infrastructures and equipment.

Disaster management was allocated Rwf15 billion additional. While Rwf9 billion was added to the envelope to pay expropriation compensations to residents.

The Minister pointed out that cyber security got Rwf4.4 billion more financing in order to safeguard the use of ICT, adding that the remaining money was added to other sectors in which funding gaps were identified.

MP Munyangeyo said that the government tried to cater for funding needs of different sectors, but indicated that more efforts need to be made, citing agriculture insurance.

“The agriculture and livestock insurance is laudable, but its coverage is still low. Only about 20,000 cows are expected to be insured in this [coming] financial year,” he said, calling for ways to extend its coverage.

That number of cows is too small compared to more than one million cows in Rwanda.

MP Gamariel Mbonimana said that attention should be put to post-harvest handling in order to tackle produce loss after harvesting.

“We have been partly able to withstand the economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic thanks to the availability of agricultural produce. But research indicated that about 16 per cent of produce is lost during the post-harvest period. And, there was a programme to reduce that rate to 5 per,cent,” he said underscoring the need to address post-harvest losses.

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com

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