2015/6 Budget: MPs urge govt to bridge Rwf50 billion funding gap

There are some priority projects worth Rwf50 billion, for which the government did not allocate funding when it presented the budget estimates for the next three fiscal years, Members of Parliament (MPs) have said.
Mukayuhi Rwaka speaks during the meeting on Wednesday. (Timothy Kisambira)
Mukayuhi Rwaka speaks during the meeting on Wednesday. (Timothy Kisambira)

There are some priority projects worth Rwf50 billion, for which the government did not allocate funding when it presented the budget estimates for the next three fiscal years, Members of Parliament (MPs) have said.

This was said on Wednesday by MP Constance Mukayuhi Rwaka, Chairperson of the parliamentary Committee on National Budget and Patrimony.

She was presenting to Parliament the committee’s analysis of the government’s proposed budget for the Financial Year 2015/16 as well as Medium Term Budget Estimates for the next three financial years.

Last month, the government proposed that the budget for the Financial Year 2015/16 will be Rwf1,768.3 billion, reflecting an increase of Rwf5.9 billion compared to Rwf1,762.4 billion for the current Budget.

MPs said that they wished the government would add Rwf50 billion to fund what they called priority activities and projects.

Among others, the projects and activities include professionals’ salaries to monitor the implementation of the National Employment Programme (NEP), compesating people who lost their property when the Kigali-Gatuna road was refurbished, the construction of Gishwati feeder roads in the Western Province, building five milk collection centres in the Northern Province’s Gicumbi District, as well as the removal and replacement of asbestos roofing from various hospitals.

While that amount may not readily be available to be added in the financial year 2015-2016 budget, the MPs asked the government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, to accomodate the priority projects in the already planned budget and replace any other activities that may not be urgent.

If government fails to put the priority activities and schemes in the next budget– 2015-2016, then they should be considered in budget proposals for the following two financial years, the MPs said.

“We are not asking the government to increase the budget because the money may not be available, but we are requesting for the replacement of any unnecessary spending with the priority projects we have identified. ‘‘If the projects can’t be funded in the next financial year, then they could be integrated into the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF),” said MP Mukayuhi.

The MPs’ position is expected to be considered by officials and experts at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning while drafting the final budget proposal for the financial year 2015-2016, which will be tabled in Parliament next month.

According to Caleb Rwamuganza, the director-general of Budget at the Ministry of Finance, the MPs’ views are well in line with their role in the budget formulation.

“The ideas submitted to us by the MPs will be carefully analysed. It’s possible that some of the projects could be funded but we have to first consider the MPs’ ideas,” Rwamuganza told The New Times yesterday.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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