The authors of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) believe that good governance exert primordial influence over the society’s stability, prosperity and the wellbeing of its citizens.
In turn, long term stability of governance is heavily dependent upon the belief of Rwandans in the justness and fairness of the country’s governing institutions.
This is why the government puts efforts on strengthening good governance as a pre-condition for poverty reduction and development.
This article highlights the progress on implementation of the EDPRS in the Mini Budget Period of January to June 2009.
The progress report is based on the selected policy actions in the EDPRS Results and Policy Matrix for January to June, 2009.
The EDPRS Results and Policy Matrix is organised around 3 major strategic objectives of: Increased economic growth, managing population growth rate and enhancing population development and enhanced gains through good governance.
Under The Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order Sector has 14 major policy targets; 10 fully implemented and 4 partially achieved.
A Justice Sector needs assessment is in advanced stages of preparation and a Prime Minister’s Decree legally establishing Justice Sector technical committees at District level is being finalized.
With regards to the popularising of laws on corruption and accountability, this has been done through sensitisation on the fight against corruption working with different media.
Two high level meetings were organized between the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) and the Rwanda National Police (RNP) to exchange ideas on strategies to fight economic and financial crime in financial institutions.
The organic frame of NPPA and a specialized unit pursuing economic and financial crimes has been fully completed.
The specialized unit is operational and investigates files of corruption and embezzlement reported by the Office of the Auditor General.
The efforts to further reduce pressure on prison infrastructure are progressing well with the expansion of Butare prison. With regard to construction of Butamwa prison, the tender process was launched and the expropriation exercise was 70% completed and construction was scheduled to commence immediately after completion of the expropriation exercise.
In order to accelerate TIG activities, 58 operational TIG work camps have been opened with a total of 23,580 convicts undergoing their sentence. Estimated net revenue of RWF 4.4 Billion was realised from different development projects that were undertaken through the TIG program.
A total of 42,223 persons were trained in human rights related aspects in different schools and through solidarity camps. In addition to this more than 1, 000 historically marginalized persons underwent the same training as did 167 members of prison services, 60 persons from religious groups and 29 people living with HIV/AIDS.
Training on community policing have also been carried out in conjunction with local governments to liaison officers and some community policing committees, with a view to reinforcing the gains made in crime reduction in 2008.
The Ministry of Justice (MINIJUST) has identified 10 Districts for scaling up ‘Access to Justice Centers’ (MAJ) to increase access to Justice. A total of 6 MAJ will be setup this year.
As far as speeding up of judgment execution, MINIJUST in addition to other ongoing initiatives is organizing a legal aid week for children aimed at speeding up cases of children under detention.
In reduction of the case backlog, tried cases during the mini budget period were 32,690 representing 43% of the backlog.
Significant strides have been made in the education sector in the EDPRS framework whereby the sector has eight major policy targets where seven were fully achieved and one partially implemented
Two policies have been approved; Special Education Needs policy and Girls’ education policy.
Costing of strategic plan for the implementation of Girls’ Education policy has also been finalized and waiting for validation. Education quality standards have also been approved.
The adoption of a framework and procedures for decentralised procurement and school-level selection of text books has been fully completed.
Progress on tender for inclusion on the approved list of teaching and learning materials is that the list has been approved by steering committee.
The 1st draft on the analytical work and studies on post basic education as part of the country status report has been presented to MINEDUC.
Regarding the costing of Teacher Development Management (TDM) strategic plan that included coordination of In Service Education Training (INSET) policy, the required expertise has been procured and the Strategy is being developed.
In January 2009, out of 2,432 existing primary schools, 523 received first year students of the lower secondary school (Tronc Commun) in the implementation of Nine Years Basic Education (9YBE) program.
A total of 153,507 students were enrolled in senior one out of which 123,000 students were in 9YBE schools and 27,000 students in other public secondary schools compared to 71,166 students that were enrolled in 2008.
With the help of Education Management Information System (EMIS), a census for education statistics was conducted and data analysis has started. This was one of the major challenges highlighted in the 2008 progress report and it has been marked as a priority.
Currently students’ population in public institutions of higher learning is standing at 26,304(48%) . The female population constitutes 33 % whilst males constitute 67%.
On the other hand, the number of students in private institutions is 28,909 (52%) of which 47% is male and 53% is female. An increase by 9.3% student’s enrolment has been registered in the private sector.
SOCIAL PROTECTION SECTOR
Five major policy targets; four fully achieved and one partially achieved. The government and development partners have committed funds for VUP implementation in 30 pilot sectors exceeding the total number of 15 that was expected.
Field visits indicate that in some sectors the public works wage rate ratio to market wage rate is equal to or more than 1.
Beneficiaries can decide whether to retain a proportion of their public works wages as savings in the bank and are also being paid directly (not through contractors).
The percentage of households eligible for support, granted direct support in VUP sectors has reached 100% exceeding the target of 60% that was set for 2009/10 fiscal period.
The implementation of the Policy action on microfinance is underway through Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) which are also being established and/or strengthened in VUP sectors, through which vulnerable households will be able to access credit.
The sector is also acting on recommendations to revise the financial services policy and procedures manual.
EDPRS AND YOUTH SECTOR
The sector had two policy targets; both fully achieved. With effect from January 2009, Cooperative Bank for Youth Self Employment and Development (COOJAD) has opened its offices in 4 Districts of; Nyagatare, Rulindo, Nyaruguru and Nyanza.
However, they are still waiting for approval from National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and the Ministry of Commerce (MINICOM) to start giving loans.
Currently, COOJAD has 2928 Members. In 2009 January to June, 163 members were given loans and the number of new jobs generated is estimated at 628. The support provided by the Ministry of Youth, National Youth Council (NYC) and the above mentioned Districts to the youth Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) is in form of wages, purchase of office equipments and other administrative costs.
The action to prepare diversified cooperatives has yielded a total of 36 cooperatives supported. Youth associations are helped through sensitization, training and funds allocation.
IMPROVING FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SECTOR
There is an increasing focus on improving the quality of public financial management in Rwanda. The public sector landscape is rapidly changing with an increasing emphasis on fiscal management and discipline, prioritisation of expenditure and value for money.
The sector has eleven major policy targets; 7 fully implemented and 4 partially achieved.
Among the priority, gender based budgeting was introduced at beginning of 2009. An institutional frame work for the technical team and the steering committee has been instituted.
A training manual has been developed and gender based monitoring and evaluation framework has been put in place and sensitization workshops for both local and central government have been undertaken.
The national budget has been aligned with the rest of the East African Community as the first budget for 2009/2010 was read on June 11, 2009.
The Debt Management Strategy was completed towards the end of 2008 and a debt manual is currently being drafted that will help in the translation of the strategy into operation.
In the field of capacity building initiatives for financial and accounting staff is on course being provided through on-job training, and ACCA training was re-launched in 2008 and is being provided and funded by the Government.
On the action to ensure that each budget agency submits a fund accountability statement, the government of Rwanda developed a Financial Reporting Template (FRT) that is used by all Budget Agencies when preparing year end financial statements.
Most budget agencies have submitted financial statements for 2007 and 2008 in line with the FRT within the stipulated timeframe. Government has used the same template for the preparation of consolidated financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2008.
In order to ensure adequate satisfaction on the development and implementation of SmartFMS, a team (Quality Assurance Group) was put in place and has completed the first mission of an independent quality assessment of the development of IFMS in April 2009.
This team recommended among other things; that the testing and piloting be extended for an additional year.
An Internal Audit Charter was adopted and published on the MINECOFIN website. The Charter also has a code of ethics for the internal audit staff.
A number of workshops have been carried out to sensitize the stakeholders on these new vital instruments.
The Office of the Auditor General is carried out comparisons of the different audit software used in various Supreme Audit Institutions to select the most suitable software for installation.
With regard to the analysis and compilation of reports on fiscal risks posed by Government Business Enterprises (GBEs), the 43% target has been met and exceeded as all GBEs have submitted fiscal reports in 2008 and the number is on the rise for the mini budget.
A memorandum of understanding between Rwanda Public Procurement Authority and Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management was signed to develop curricula for provision of basic training in procurement.
Rwanda has a vision to become a modern, united and prosperous nation founded on the positive values of its culture.
The country is open to the world, including its own Diaspora. Rwandans will be a people sharing the same vision for the future and ready to contribute to social cohesion, equity and equality of opportunities.