Members of the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony in the Lower Chamber of Parliament yesterday kicked off the review of the draft budget for the fiscal year 2017/18, a process that will see Parliament fine-tune plans laid out in the proposal before passing it.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Claver Gatete tabled the budget proposal in the House last week and it will need for MPs to approve the Rwf2.09 trillion funding for the country’s operations in the next fiscal year.
It has increased from the current year’s Rwf1.95 trillion.
Economic plans laid out in the draft budget law for the country’s next fiscal year will generally focus on promoting investments in infrastructure and supporting domestic industries to promote locally made products.
But MPs want to make their final comments on the draft of the budget law before it is tabled back in the House’s plenary for final approval.
“Our work today is about fine-tuning the plans laid out in the budget. It’s not possible to find money for every request but we believe that the government made sure to consider what were the most urgent needs and allocated funding for them,” said MP Annonciata Mukarugwiza, deputy chairperson of the parliamentary budget committee.
Parliament approved in principle the 2017/18 draft finance law last week when it was tabled in the House and the on-going assessments at the committee level may not take long given that most MPs are generally happy with the plans laid out in the draft budget.
“I am happy with the bill; I think many of our ideas were considered in the draft budget law. But we also have to raise any other concerns that we may find in the budget proposal so they can be addressed before the budget law is passed,” said MP Innocent Kayitare at yesterday’s committee session.
The draft budget law was designed based on the 2017/18 – 2019/20 Budget Framework Paper that the government presented to Parliament in April, 2017 and was amended to reflect the recommended actions by the MPs as submitted on May 30, 2017.
Minister Gatete, told The New Times shortly after appearing before the parliamentary committee yesterday that the more the legislators are familiar with the basis of plans laid out in the draft budget law the faster they will approve it.
“The more they understand about the plans the faster and the better their inputs will be,” he said.
The next national budget was designed with the theme of “Sustainable growth through infrastructure development and promotion of Made in Rwanda”.
It seeks to see heavy investments put into infrastructure projects such as building roads and airports, rolling out electricity in more areas, providing more water resources to citizens in urban areas, and preparing more industrial parks upcountry.
The government has also planned to put a zero taxation regime on importing goods most needed by local industries in order to boost local production and cut down on imports.
It is expected that 66 per cent of the country’s next budget will be financed by domestic resources through tax and non-tax revenues while the government expects 17 percent of the budget to come from both domestically and externally secured loans and the remaining 17 percent of the budget obtained from foreign grants.
Parliament has until the end of the month to finally pass the budget law to pave way for next fiscal year’s budget execution that starts on July 1.