PAC scrutinises rural development projects

Rubaya tea plantation workers in Ngororero District. / Sam Ngendahimana

Members of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have embarked on a countrywide filed trip to assess the performance of key projects that include the Rural Income through Export (PRICE) project, which works to boost exports from rural farms.

One of the heavily funded agricultural projects under the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, the project was initiated to promote, among other things, coffee, tea and silkworm seedlings to boost agricultural exports.

With sponsorship from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the 7-year project (2011-2018) was supposed to be entirely funded at the tune of $56 million (over Rwf45 billion).

It was first audited by the Auditor General (AG) in 2015 and got a clean audit status.

But MPs in PAC had in 2016 asked the AG to conduct a performance audit report to indicate whether the funds allocated to PRICE were indeed being used efficiently to achieve the project’s goals.

According to the then chairperson of PAC, Juvenal Nkusi, the project’s management had a clean financial statement that reflected good utilisation of the funds but return on investments with respect to actual crop yields was lacking.

Now, the current members of PAC, including Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze who chairs the committee, have gone to the field to check whether the project is functional. .

Among other issues, the AG report for the 2016/17 fiscal year indicated that unauthorised expenditure in salaries at PRICE project amounting to over Rwf3.8million was made.

The MPs want to ensure that the project is well managed and is serving the goals for which it was initiated.

“We want to look at how the PRICE project was implemented over the years,” Ngabitsinze told The New Times on Wednesday.

He revealed that a hearing on the project’s performance was due in two weeks, along with other projects for which the AG conducted performance audit reports, also known as ‘value for money’ audits.

They include the performance of an e-Recruitment and human resources management software at the Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA), which is known as the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

The online recruitment programme at the ministry uses technology to take care of human resources management tasks such as finding, attracting, assessing, interviewing and hiring new employees, as well as their continued management.

Among other issues, PAC committee will also conduct public hearings on why the construction of a genocide memorial site known as “Commune Rouge” in Western Province’s Rubavu District has stalled as well as how a cooperative of former Gacaca courts volunteers is working.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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