PARLIAMENT - Legislators have passed the 2008 fiscal year budget with a general increment of 18 percent compared to the 2007 budget.
The 2008 budget is estimated at Frw623 billion, compared to Frw527.9b in the 2007 estimates.
The draft budget presented to parliament by Finance minister James Musoni in October was initially estimated at Frw607.5 billion, but has been increased by Frw15.6 billion due to revised budgetary allocations to various ministries.
The president of the parliamentary committee in-charge of budgetary affairs, MP Constance Mukayuhi Rwaka, presented the draft budget to fellow legislators during yesterday plenary session.
She explained that the amendments came as a result of the need for the prioritisation of programmes by various ministries.
“The government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to increase on the amount of money allocated to various priority programmes for economic development,” Mukayuhi said.
She said that that the money would come partly from the sale of government shares in the Bank de Kigali (BK) and other donations.
The increment was also justified as a result of reducing the budgetary allocations of some ministries to finance the priority programmes under other ministries.
Amendments and allocations
Among the institutions whose budgets were increased include the President’s Office, which was allocated another Frw239 million to make it Frw10.6 billion, for Itorero ry’Igihugu (a cultural education programme) and paying salary arrears.
The Prime Minister’s Office received an additional Frw119 million to the earlier Frw5.2 billion, for the financing activities of the National Gazette and the Press Council.
The Internal Security ministry also had its allocations raised by Frw50 million for a total of Frw15.9billion.
The money would go to the National Police to buy ten vehicles.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was allocated an additional Frw286.9m adding up to Frw11.9b. The additional sum would be used to buy offices for the Rwandan Embassy in Beijing, China. The Ministry for Science, Technology, Scientific Research and ICT (MINISTR) in the President’s Office also received Frw12.9b to cater the Rwanda Information Technology Authority (Rita), which was transferred from the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The Ministry of Finance was added Frw7.6billion for monetary policy management, the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (CSR) and demobilized soldiers.
The Ministry of Lands received another Frw194 million for the implementation of the water projects in Kigali City.
In the process of those re-allocations and additions, the ministry of Infrastructure had its budget reduced from Frw103b to Frw98.9b.
The reduction is largely attributed to the transfer of Rita. The Ministry of Public Services, Skills Development and Labour had its projected budget slashed by Frw230m to 7.2b, while Local Government ministry budget was cut by Frw700 million from Frw50.2b to Frw49.5b.
The cut lowered the National Political Party Forum budgetary allocation.
Finance minister Musoni explained: “This year’s budget focuses on improving infrastructure, education, agriculture, energy and health which are in line with the programmes of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) and Vision 2020.”
Agriculture got an increment of 37 percent rising from Frw19b in 2007 to Frw26billion in 2008. Education sector has increased by 6 percent from Frw97b allocated to the sector this year to 103 for the FY 2008.
The budgetary allocations from the Central Government to the district authorities were put at Frw112billion.
Fertilizers got the biggest share with Frw3.7b followed by the construction of terraces which will take Frw2.1 billion.
A huge increment has been made in the investment sector with Frw12b compared to last year where only Frw10 million was allocated to the sector.
The health sector has increased by 29 percent with allocations put at Frw58.6 billion in 2008 up from Frw48.4billion in 2007.
The 2008 budget has a provision of paying arrears worth Frw7b while the government is planning to spend Frw8.2b on net lending.
MP Juvenal Nkusi said that there was a need for responsible authorities to monitor closely the implementation of the budget to ensure efficiency and transparency in order to achieve its objectives.