Budget: More funding for agriculture and education

Finance and Economic Planning minister Uzziel Ndagijimana on arrival at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura shortly before reading the 2019/20 Budget a fortnight ago. / Sam Ngendahimana

Parliament yesterday approved the budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year with some adjustments in public spending.

As part of the adjustments to the Rwf2.8 trillion budget for the fiscal year which begins on July 1, the Government has increased spending for agriculture, health and the education sectors, in response to the request made by parliament early this month.

MP Omar Munyaneza, Chairperson of the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, said Members of Parliament had earlier proposed ways through which government could bridge the Rwf137 billion funding deficit for priority sectors.

“The committee realised that funds amounting to Rwf64.7 billion were reallocated to those sectors. This is about 47 per cent of the funds that parliamentarians had requested in order to bridge the gap,” he said.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning deducted funds from recurrent budget.

The change, he said, was intended to support sectors with potential to accelerate economic development.

Agriculture received an extra Rwf32.4 billion, from the earlier allocation of Rwf121.35 billion, as the Government moved to cushion the country against food insecurity. 

The funds will be used to scale up irrigations, buy quality seeds, set up infrastructure and improve agriculture and livestock programmes.

The increment brings the total funding to agriculture to Rwf154 billion.

In education, an extra Rwf7.1 billion has been allocated to the construction of classrooms in districts in order to reduce overcrowding in schools that MPs cited.

Overall, education was allocated Rwf310 billion.

In addition, Rwf1.2 billion will be spent on controlling torrents which come from volcanoes and destroy people’s properties in north-western Rwanda.

Meanwhile, Munyaneza said that the national budget now takes into consideration the urgent needs of Rwandans, and hence deserved the approval of parliament.

Claudine Uwera, Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning, said that Rwandans, right from the community level, participated in the budget preparation and planning process

She said that agriculture has great importance in Rwanda’s economy, which is why it was given more funding.

The 2019/20 budget focuses on socio-economic development, she said.  

“So, it will cater for our need for infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and schools which can drive our economy, but it will also strengthen social programmes to lift people out of poverty,” she said.