The latest repot on the progress in implementing Rwanda's Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) shows significant progress in all clusters, according to 2009 report released by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning based on the key targets and policy actions in the EDPRS results and policy matrix is structured on three major strategic objectives.
They include; increased economic growth, managing population growth rate and enhancing population development, and enhanced gains through good governance.
The strategic objectives are in harmony with the three EDPRS clusters of economic, social and governance that were set up by the Rubavu retreat in February this year. In order to focus on the implementation of the EDPRS framework, I have chosen to centre on the economic cluster that covers the macro and financial sector, agriculture, infrastructure private sector development as well as environment and natural resources management.
MACRO ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL SECTOR PERFORMANCE
Five major policy actions set; 4 fully achieved and 1 partially met. The 2009 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projections have been decreased to 5.3% following the strong performance of 11.2% in 2008. This was mainly due to the global economic downturn which negatively impacted demand for exports and the stringent domestic credit conditions. Agriculture however is showing signs of resisting the poor economic climate.
Exports decreased by 21.3% in volume and by 31.9% in value during the first half of 2009 compared to 2008, with all exports declining in value expect tea. Imports however maintained an upward trend with an increase in the first half of 2009 of 26.9% in value and 18.9% in volume compared to the same period in 2008. Indications are that imports are also set to decline after the set of orders completed in the 2008 boom period are delivered.
Credit to the private sector declined by 3.6% from an amount of Rwf 341 billion in December to Rwf 329.4 billion in June 2009. Early indications also show that the construction sector is slowing down after 3 years of strong performance; large companies recorded an increase in turnover of 4.19% during the first half of 2009, against an increase of 45.17% in the same period of 2008.
The annual increase in turnover of key players in the industry and service sectors also decreased from 38.93% and 40.95% to 7.68% and 4.68% respectively in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. Inflation has declined overall from 22.3% in December 2008 to 10.1% in June 2009 and the trend is tending towards the objective of single digit inflation. There has also been relative price stability with the overall change in price index at 1.8% compared to December 2008.
The Rwanda Franc exchange rate was quite stable during the first half of 2009 with a moderate depreciation of 2.3% between December 2008 and June 2009.
The 2009/2010 fiscal year budget was approved by Parliament in June. The budget is aligned to the East African Community (EAC) budget calendar and represents a 24% increase from the 2008 fiscal year. It has been aligned to the EDPRS priorities with emphasis on job creation, rural investment, infrastructure and human development
The Micro Finance credit fund has been made operational; the fund will help Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) to access finance for lending at subsidized rates, by the end of June more than RWF 1.3 Billion had been disbursed to different MFIs.
As regards putting in place a legal and institutional framework for payment systems; the National Payment Systems Strategy was developed and the Law on Security Interest in Immovable Property and mortgages has been passed in Parliament in April 2009. The National Payments Council (NPC) Decree has been enacted and the NPC has been established and is already providing guidance for payments system development.
A Ministerial Order has been issued calling for larger companies to base their tax returns on International Auditing Standards (IAS) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) of accounting, the law establishing the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Rwanda (ICPAR) is also in place.
Six policy targets set; all 6 fully met. Efforts to improve the doing business environment are gaining momentum with a total of 8 licenses identified for action, a more comprehensive survey on investor perceptions has also been completed with a view to getting first hand information related to investors and the business environment.
All borders have been connected to the ASYCUDA (customs software) network except Rutete which is to be connected in the 2009/10 fiscal year. Computerization and implementation of the business registry system for secured transactions and intellectual property rights are also progressing well. The Rwanda Commercial Registration Agency (RCRA) has also begun operations with liaison offices in Muhanga, Rusizi and Huye.
The Industrial Policy is in final stages of completion and is to be validated with the Industrial Master Plan and Rwanda has already begun implementing the EAC Customs Management Act from 1st July, 2009.
ENERGY SUB SECTOR
Five policy targets set and all fully implemented. Cost efficient distribution technology for rural electrification has been determined and a directorate setup for implementation of the National Electricity Roll out program in Electrogaz. Energy source diversification has been boosted by the pilot methane gas project producing 2 Mega Watts (MW) to the national grid, the 20 MW Jabana heavy fuel plant was also commissioned and is now operating.
The draft law establishing the Rwanda Energy and Water Development Boards has been submitted to Parliament and the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) has signed a contract with an independent power producer (Contour Global) in 2009 for the extraction of Methane gas from Lake Kivu for production of up to 100 MW of electricity to feed into the national grid, with the first 25 MW expected in September 2010.
TRANSPORT SUB SECTOR
7 policy targets set; 4 fully implemented 1 partially met and 2 not met. The target of periodic maintenance for 20km of paved road has been achieved whereas 90% rehabilitation and maintenance works of the 120km national earth roads have been completed.
The Rwanda transport Agency was adopted by Cabinet and the Road Act is in final stages of preparation. The Road Maintenance Fund (RMF) Strategic plan has also been adopted and the evaluation of bids is underway for the Transport Master Plan study.
Ten policy actions set; 8 fully implemented and 2 partially achieved. Preliminary estimates suggest that growth in agricultural production was 11.2% in volume during the seasons A and B of 2009. This comes as a result of continued efforts in crop intensification program and favorable climatic conditions.
Feasibility studies for an additional 17 sites identified under the LWH have been contracted and initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI). The land consolidation Ministerial Decree draft is being share with stakeholders for inputs.
The fertilizer strategy is being implemented; the private sector is involved in agricultural inputs delivery and distribution through the voucher system. The action plan for fertilizer distribution has also been completed and endorsed by the rural cluster. A draft mechanization strategy has also been completed and is soon to be endorsed by the agriculture sector working group.
The seed policy and 5 year costed action plan were adopted by Cabinet in March 2009. An evaluation study of the implementation of the ‘One Cow per Household’ has also been completed.
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES SECTOR
Nine policy action targets; 8 fully implemented and 1 partially met. Significant progress has been made in the production of orthophotos for the Country, with 70% soft and hard copies produced. A draft report of the inventory of the existing land information data has been completed and being presented to stakeholders.
A total of 9,997 land certificates were issued by mid June 2009 representing 67% of the total adjudicated and demarcated parcels (14,922). Watershed management plans for Rugezi, Kamiranzovu, Rweru-Mugesera and Akagera were validated in March 2009. Twenty five (25) District Forest Management Plans (DFMP) has been completed. Five other DFMPs for Kicukiro, Gicumbi, Gatsibo, Nyagatare and Bugesera are at advanced stages of finalization.
The policy actions for the continued improvement in the data collection system is progressing well with 22 limn metric stations in place and data being collected. Tender documents for the rehabilitation of 14 (5 were the original target) hydrological and limn metric stations have been issued while the feasibility study for rehabilitation of Nyabarongo river border has been completed and the one for Muvumba River is to be prepared for fiscal year 2009/10.
HEALTH SECTOR BOOMING
Seven policy action targets; 5 fully implemented and 2 partially met. The Promulgation of new tariffs establishing free Family Planning (FP) services has been achieved with all public health facilities providing free family planning services and care. The framework for the provision of FP services was developed and distributed in all Health Facilities.
All Health centers (100%) do outreach services for immunization exceeding 15% targeted for Jan-June 2009. The Nutrition policy has also been approved by Cabinet and the implementation plan developed. A Community based nutrition strategy was piloted in 19 districts exceeding the five originally targeted.
Guidelines for Diarrhea treatment were published and training of trainers for 30 districts was conducted to scale up community treatment of diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria. Deliveries in Health facilities have also been included in all Districts’ Imihigo for 2009/10 fiscal period.
Provider Initiate Testing (PIT) guidelines have been developed and approved by Ministry of Health (MINISANTE), a Manual of trainers is currently being developed. In the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), condoms have been integrated in the Community health workers’ kits to improve accessibility at community level and the Male circumcision strategy has been integrated in the National Strategic Plan of HIV & AIDS 2009-2012.
The systematic and early testing of children born to HIV positive mothers continues to make headway with 66% of children born between January and June 2009 tested. The revised draft of the health insurance policy based on payment according to social economic category is in advanced stages of finalization waiting for submission to Cabinet. Performance Based Financing (PBF) Strategy was also approved by MINISANTE and published on the ministry website.
WATER AND SANITATION SECTOR
Ten major policy actions, eight fully implemented and two partially achieved. As regards, the increase in access to clean drinking water, three district water resource master plans have been completed as planned and the construction of 490 km of new water supply systems has also been fully realized
The draft version of the water and sanitation policy has been presented to stakeholders for approval and the water and sanitation management information system was completed and trainings for staff are being organized. A total of 253 sanitation facilities were constructed in schools and in Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe settlements.