Local governance sector has decried low Budget Allocations as they seek close to Rwf60 billion for the next fiscal year.
In discussions with Members of Parliament on the overview of the sectoral mandate budget performance and projected estimates for the upcoming fiscal year, yesterday, members of the sector expressed concerns over funding gap amounting to Rwf11 billion.
Appearing before Parliament was Francis Kaboneka, the local government minister, and 10 semi-autonomous agencies including National Electoral Commission (NEC), Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) among others, the officials told lawmakers to advocate for more budget allocation to finance the sector’s programmes.
According to officials, the budget performance rate of the current fiscal year had gone beyond 80 per cent by last month despite inconsistent flow of Budget transactions and new projects that were introduced in the course of Budget Execution.
Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the chief executive of RGB, said despite progressive performance, there have been challenges for the sector to execute the Budget in due time in parallel with set targets.
“Before the end of last month, the Budget performance had reached 84 per cent. But we are not just rushing to spend money for the sake of it, we have been making sure the expenditures go hand in hand with development projects on ground,” he said.
Prof. Shyaka, who called on lawmakers to advocate for their budget increment, further stated that projects such as Girinka, and Umuganda, and efficient service delivery, accountability at the grassroots, media sector reforms and development are yet to deliver maxiumum results because they are still underfunded.
Minister Kaboneka told lawmakers that part of the slowdown in Budget Execution were equally occasioned by previous elections, especially local government elections that saw close to three months transition.
Legislators task leaders
Reacting to the performance, legislators asked leaders to ensure structures and systems in place help Government carry out proper assessment and monitoring of various home-grown solutions, saying this would guide them on areas that necessitate improvements.
MP Alfred Rwasa said positive delivery on the programmes can be efficient if the ministry engages other partnering ministries in coordination and regular assessment of home-grown solutions.
“We are seeing civic programmes such as Itorero and Umuganda of which we don’t know the actual outcomes in terms of value and where we can strengthen,” he said, urging the ministry and partners to carry out regular assessments.
Lawmakers also questioned slowdown in Budget Execution in some districts, particularly in Southern Province which still has relatively low absorption capacity where some postponed projects are to be completed in the upcoming fiscal year.
While the district’s budget range for Southern Province hovers between Rwf10 billion and Rwf15 billion, some districts like Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe show that their Budget Projections slumped by Rwf2 and Rwf1 billion, respectively.
“Much as the districts in Southern Province have recorded good progress in the budget execution of the current fiscal year, some of them have noted a below 70 to 80 percent of the progress, yet we are few months to the closure of the financial year,” said MP Adolph Bazatoha.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning said decline in the budget in some districts has been occasioned by changes in district education financing which has seen some students put on the list of FARG instead of district.