Govt aligns Imihigo to National Budget

The government has redesigned performance contracts, commonly known as Imihigo, to ensure planning, execution and evaluation of the contracts are harmonised with the National Budget.
Premier Murekezispeaks as Local Government minister Francis Kaboneka looks on during the meeting with central and local government officials yesterday.(John Mbanda)
Premier Murekezispeaks as Local Government minister Francis Kaboneka looks on during the meeting with central and local government officials yesterday.(John Mbanda)

The government has redesigned performance contracts, commonly known as Imihigo, to ensure planning, execution and evaluation of the contracts are harmonised with the National Budget.

The new system will affect all institutions; public and private, that sign performance contracts.

This was announced, yesterday, during a meeting hosted by Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi, which attracted all ministers, governors, mayors and heads of state parastatals.

The new system takes effect in the next financial year, which begins July.

While presenting the new approach of preparing Imihigo, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, minister of state in charge of economic planning, said the coordination of Imihigo programme will be done in line with national budget targets.

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The Minister in the President's office Venantie Tugireyezu speaks at the meeting yesterday.

The new approach means that the performance contracts will be signed in July every year at the same time when the new fiscal year starts.

Previously, the contracts would be approved and signed later in the financial year, which has been delaying the implementation of projects at both the central and local government levels.

The current Imihigo were signed in September, last year, nearly three months after the financial year began.

Ndagijimana also said there will be joint Imihigo commitments among different institutions, the Private Sector Federation, and districts in case the action points are crosscutting and their implementation shared by different bodies.

The new approach to Imihigo essentially means that what will be planned as action points in the performance contracts will be discussed with officials at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (Minecofin), who will in turn earmark budgets for the actions as they plan the national budget for the new financial year.

When the execution of the Budget in the new financial year starts, Minecofin will be disbursing money to districts and other bodies so that it is used to implement projects that will already have been planned under their performance contracts.

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Kamonyi District Mayor Jacques Rutsinga speaks at the meeting yesterday.

Fast-tracking implementation

Officials hope that the new approach will help fast-track the execution of government programmes unlike the current status where the implementation of programmes is about half-way through with just about two months to the end of the financial year.

At yesterday’s meeting, Prime Minister Murekezi urged leaders to do everything in their ability to implement the remaining Imihigo actions in the next two months.

“What should we do to move from around 50 per cent implementation rate to at least 70 per cent? We can do a lot in the next two months; all we need is to do important analyses about the lagging projects and make appropriate decisions,” he said.

At the level of the central government, only 47 per cent of the planned actions in the current financial year have been implemented.

The activities that have not yet been undertaken include the privatisation of eight small hydro-power plants, distribution of thousands of computers for the One Laptop per Child programme, the significant increase of horticulture products for export, implementation of biogas projects, and payments of looted property for Genocide survivors.

While the average implementation of Imihigo programmes in provinces is at 50 per cent, governors and mayors indicated that implementation of many of their projects has stalled because Minecofin takes long to pay entrepreneurs who did the work for the provinces and districts.

Premier Murekezi said government has decided to take some fiscal decentralisation steps to enable districts to effect direct payments to entrepreneurs who undertake major projects.

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City of Kigali mayor Fidel Ndayisaba (C) speaks at the meeting yesterday. (All photos by John Mbanda)

Worries over govt programmes

Even if local officials applauded the further financial decentralisation promised by the government, worries remain as to whether the remaining Imihigo targets will be met in the current financial year.

Cabinet Affairs minister Stella Ford Mugabo said a lot of projects will be carried on to the next fiscal year because there isn’t enough time left considering tendering procedures involved.

“The projects that are still off-track are very critical to the country’s development. This is not a good reflection since most of the action points will be carried on to the next financial year,” she said.

As yesterday’s meeting ended, Premier Murekezi urged leaders to think deeply about their next performance contracts and make sure that they are reflected in the budget for the next financial year to ensure faster implementation.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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