The Government will spend Rwf509 billion on the implementation of projects to alleviate poverty, the Minister for Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, has said.
Delivering his remarks during the presentation on Imihigo for the 2017-2018 fiscal year and outlining the targets for this year, Kaboneka said that the past year was challenging, especially due to natural disasters, which affected the output that had been projected.
The minister said that district revenue collections increased to Rwf60 billion from Rwf53 billion last year, adding that the central government will support districts to bridge funding shortfall to achieve their targets.
Under the new performance contracts (Imihigo), the minister said, 135 kilometres of feeder roads will be built across several districts to help farmers to easily access the markets.
In the area of poverty reduction, seven districts that have been identified as the poorest will benefit from a joint programme aimed at rooting out poverty faster.
He commended projects like Vision Umurenge Program (VUP) for playing a critical role in fighting poverty.
“VUP was instrumental in helping to reduce poverty levels. In direct support, 95,004 people benefited. In general, 147,215 were given employment which could afford them the basics and also support them to start income generation projects while 31,855 received loans to support their projects.
The districts are also expected to build 1,618 classrooms and reduce cases of school dropouts.
There were gasps of surprise and excitement at the Parliament as the Prime Minister, Edouard Ngirente, announced how each district performed.
This biggest surprise was Rulindo, in second position, a huge leap from the previous year’s 29th position out of 30 districts. Another surprise was Rubavu that jumped from the poorest performer in 2016/2017 to clinch the 9th position in 2017/18.
Another improvement was realised by Kicukiro District, in fifth place, from the 25th position in 2016/17. Kayonza also jumped from the 23rd position to the 7th and Bugesera from the 22nd position to the 11th.
Amongst the districts whose performance dropped significantly is Nyarugenge, which dropped from the fifth position to the 20th, Burera dropped from the eighth position to the 27th, Huye from the third position to the 19th while Nyanza dropped from the 21st position to the bottom (30th).
Ngirente pointed out that those who had performed better than others had clear coordination, consistency and clear linkages between their budgets for planned activities. He also pointed out the inconsistences that made some of the districts perform poorly.
“Those who didn’t succeed lacked preparation, were not well versed with enough information about their roles and what is expected of them regarding particular targets and their level and stages of involvement. There was also an issue of those who were telling fabricated stories about their projects,” he said.
The concept of Imihigo was introduced in 2006 by the Government as a home-grown solution to accelerate the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation process of government programmes, strategies, and commitments towards economic growth and poverty reduction.