Why signing Imihigo was postponed

The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Uzziel Ndagijimana speaks during the news conference at Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura yesterday. Sam Ngendahimana.

President Paul Kagame postponed the signing of Imihigo (performance contracts) for the current fiscal year 2019/20 in order to improve targets and include indicators related to improving housing and hygiene for citizens.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, during a press conference at Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura, Kigali.

He made the announcement after a closed-door meeting in the morning between Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente and officials from the central government, district mayors from across the country, and representatives of leaders at the grassroots levels.

Ndagijimana said that, instead of signing performance contracts (Imihigo) with the Mayors and the Prime Minister as it is conducted every year around August, President Kagame sent the officials back to the drawing board.

Finally, it had been announced that the performance contracts would be signed Tuesday, during which the best performers for last year would be announced.

However, it was announced on Monday evening that the event had been postponed.

The minister said that the Head of State gave the orientation on things to better include in Imihigo targets such as plans to improve housing for citizens and improving their hygiene.

“We still have thousands of citizens who don’t have decent homes,” the minister said, explaining that the president challenged officials to design plans to reverse the situation.

It was also suggested that targets on governance need to be improved, with leaders asked to explain how they will get closer to the people they lead and help them transform their lives.

“Ideas given at the meeting will be used in order to prepare the performance contracts which will be signed at another time,” Ndagijimana said of the meeting held with leaders at Parliament on Tuesday.

“Given the orientation received, not much work is required; it will be done in a few days,” he said, without giving precisions on when he thought the performance contracts would be signed.

Local and Central Government entities sign Imihigo with President Kagame every year as part of ensuring that development plans set out for the country every year are effectively implemented.

Imihigo align government institutions’ annual plans and budgets to policy priorities and outcomes laid out in the country’s development plans as well as other high level decisions such as presidential pledges to citizens and resolutions from annual National Dialogue Council (Umushyikirano) and National Leadership Retreat (Umwiherero).

The 2018-19 Imihigo, signed last August put emphasis on seven  key areas poised to transform lives in the country, including job creation, energy, urbanisation and rural settlement, agriculture, export promotion, social protection as well as service delivery.

At the signing of the contracts last year, President Kagame had urged local leaders and other government officials to put more efforts in addressing citizens’ problems and in solving issues that affect the communities they serve.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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