National budget faces over Rwf210 billion financing gap

Craish Bahizi

Lawmakers have indicated that the national budget is facing Rwf216.5 billion in funding gaps.

The revelation was made on Friday, June 5, 2020 during the launch of the third ordinary session of the Chamber of Deputies in the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

 

At the same event, the parliamentary plenary session approved the views of MPs on the proposed budget for the 2020/2021 financial year, and elected the leaders of the Public Accounts Committee, and the Standing Committee on Land, Agriculture, Livestock and Environment.

 

The City of Kigali has the biggest financial gap of more than Rwf70 billion, according to MP Omar Munyaneza, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony.

 

Munyaneza said that the funding deficit for the City of Kigali mainly consists of arrears that it owes different entities, including Rwf11.4 billion to pay expropriation compensations.

“The budget gap in the City of Kigali funding is worse compared to others [other entities] because they are about outstanding arrears,” he said.

MP Albert Ruhakana said that the City of Kigali management underwent reforms about a year ago, expressing worry that the new management is going to face such a budget gap.

“The budget allocation should consider such a problem because it is serious, especially the contractors who were not paid, and infrastructure which is underfunded,” he said.

Other budget deficits observed include over Rwf390 million for the rehabilitation of the Cyanika Health Centre in Burera District, four-year-old Rwf74 million arrears that Rwanda Energy Group owes to the residents of Ruhango District.

Munyaneza also pointed out that there is Rwf313.8 million to pay a contractor who built three TVET schools of Muhanga, Rutongo, and Nyabihu.

Finance gap for Kivu gas for cooking project

Munyaneza further said that since there is a plan to phase out the use of charcoal [as a cooking fuel], there is a need for an alternative which people can adopt.

“If charcoal is going to be excluded from the market, there should be affordable gas for people to use, whereby they can buy it at Rwf500, or Rwf1000 as they have been spending on charcoal,” Munyaneza said.

“That is an important issue because if we have undertaken to protect the environment and ensure that people do not cut down forests, we should look for an alternative solution [to cooking],” he observed.

 ‘Vaccines cannot wait’

MP Eugene Mussolini said that the Ministry of Health faces a funding deficit in terms of vaccination, which he said is an urgent problem.

“There are things that can be ignored, but, when it comes to vaccines to protect children [against diseases] whom we will not prevent from being born, it is a concerning situation. We should consider how to address such an issue,” he said.  

During the budget hearing at Parliament on May 29, 2020, the Minister of Health, Daniel Ngamije told parliamentarians that Rwf577 million was allocated for vaccines, which is less than more than Rwf1 billion which the Ministry planned to use in the next fiscal year 2020/2021.

“If possible, such a budget should be increased because it [vaccination] is an important programme and it can have adverse effects on the health of children once it is not implemented effectively,” the Minister said.

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com

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