Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has urged local leaders to uphold accountability in service delivery, fight corruption, and ensure that social protection programmes benefit targeted citizens.
The premier was speaking yesterday at a two-day retreat of over 200 leaders involved in local governance, which is taking place in Nyamata, Bugesera District.
The retreat, dubbed, Local Government Delivery Forum, has brought together participants that include governors and mayors, District Councils and Executive Committees for City of Kigali and districts, Executive Secretaries, as well as Division Managers of City of Kigali, provinces, and districts.
Ngirente told the leaders that the meeting was a platform to improve service in the areas of social protection, fighting corruption in the area of Ubudehe categorisation, and improve management of Umurenge savings and credit co-operatives.
He also urged them to ensure better service delivery in key areas of citizens’ lives such as governance, health, education, and social protection.
“I urge you to uphold integrity, provide good service, be patriotic, respect time, promote the unity of Rwandans, ask for advice where you need to, and never use your positions of leadership in your own interests,” he said.
The premier said that the government has a goal to ensure that by 2024, at least 90 per cent of Rwandans will be happy about the quality of service delivery, up from the rate of 69.3 per cent in 2018.
The Prime Minister told local leaders that they have to fight injustice in the delivery of government programmes, especially those about social protection that aim to bring as many people as possible out of poverty.
“Make sure to examine prevention and fight against corruption in the process to categorise citizens under Ubudehe (social stratification) and ensure that needy people who are able to work are not confused with those who need help because they are both poor and vulnerable,” he said.
With an aim to add impetus in the implementation of government programmes, the local government leaders’ forum has mainly discussed how to fast-track implementation of performance contracts in Local Government.
Participants also exchanged ideas and experiences on practical leadership and management, learned how to efficiently plan with precision, and discussed how to work better with others in the government to effectively implement planned activities and policies at local levels.
Officials during the local governance delivery forum yesterday. Courtesy.
The Minister for Local Government, Anastase Shyaka, said that local institutions are the first to implement programmes and urged local leaders to do better at coordination of activities and work well with other government institutions in charge of their line programmes.
“There are instances where coordination with other institutions is poor. We need to resolve that equation,” he said at the meeting.
He said that the meeting aimed to explore four main points, including performance contracts (Imihigo), current implementation of social protection programmes and how they can be improved in the future, and gaps in accountability and anti-corruption efforts.
In different media interviews on the sidelines of the meeting, different local leaders urged for better coordination of government activities and improved cooperation among officials at different levels.
“We expect this retreat to help us improve our performance. In general, before approving imihigo and budgets, feasibility studies for projects and imihigo implementation need to be refined. What needs to be improved will be clear whether it’s in the planning of Imihigo and their execution as well as budget execution for the programmes,” said Florence Uwambajemariya, the mayor of Burera District in Northern Province.
The Executive Secretary of Huye District, Vedaste Nshimiyimana, said that poor cooperation among institutions on the implementation of projects remains the biggest challenge.
“Institutions need to keep working together throughout the implementation of projects. We need to constantly improve the way we engage with each other at different levels,” he said.
Different officials said that implementation of projects on the ground often delay due to different causes, including delay by the central government to release funds meant for the projects, uncoordinated approvals of feasibility studies, as well as lack of constant follow-up in the delivery of services.