The civil society has commended government for allocations in the 2017/18 Budget to what they consider to be “sensitive sectors” of the economy.
From the onset, they say, the Government made efforts to engage the grassroots leadership and civil society during Budget Consultations.
This, the civil society says, has gone a long way in ensuring that the state finances are put where they are most needed.
Jean-Léonard Sekanyange, the spokesperson of the National Civil Society Platform, said the consultations made the government realise that agriculture needed a bigger Budget Allocation than it was getting before.
“We are so happy with the Budget Allocation and the fact that Government is able to finance a bigger portion of its expenditure is surely a good way to realise sustainable development,” Sekanyange said.
The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Amb. Claver Gatete, presented the 2017/18 Budget before Parliement yesterday. The Budget shows a rise from the Rwf1.95 trillion in 2016/17 to Rwf2.09 trillion.
The Budget is expected to be domestically financed at 66 per cent compared to 62.4 per cent for the closing financial year.
The new Budget was presented under the theme, “Sustainable growth through infrastructure development and promotion of Made-in-Rwanda.”
Teachers and farmers are among the biggest winners in the 2017/18 Budgety.
Domestically financed development projects expenditure, of which agriculture projects (irrigation) is part of, is set to increase by Rwf26.2 billion from Rwf434 billion in 2016/17.
The increase will be used for roads infrastructure development, key transmission lines, and improvement of water supply in both rural and urban areas, among other priorities.
Though some legislators say the agriculture allocations didn’t provide for pest and disease control, Sekanyange is upbeat that, “budgeting for irrigation is a positive move to mitigate impact of unpredictable weather.”
Marie-Immaculée Ingabire, of Transparency International Rwanda, urged the Government to be keen on the execution of the Budget allocated to agriculture to ensure that targeted goals are met.
“Over 80 per cent of Rwandans depend on agriculture; in fact it is all Rwanda, literally. We need to be careful on how agriculture budget is disbursed to ensure that there is not only food security but also that farmers’ lives are transformed,” she said.
Dr Venuste Karambizi, a lecturer at Kigali Independent University and member of the National Civil Society Platform, commended government for increasing Budget Allocation on education, which will see teachers’ salaries raised.
“It is a true statement that Government is committed to make Rwanda a knowledge-based economy,” Karambizi said.
“Teachers are the foundation of knowledge and having been budgeted for demonstrates a new momentum.”