MPs approve 2017/18 Budget

Parliament yesterday passed the Budget Law for the Financial Year 2017/18, effectively giving the final nod to the country’s next budget, whose execution starts July 1.
Gatete addresses the media after the approval of  Budget yesterday. Nadege Imbabazi.
Gatete addresses the media after the approval of Budget yesterday. Nadege Imbabazi.

Parliament yesterday passed the Budget Law for the Financial Year 2017/18, effectively giving the final nod to the country’s next budget, whose execution starts July 1.

The Budget Law was passed unanimously and the Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Amb. Claver Gatete, told journalists after the approval that the next step will be about sensitising citizens and implementing agencies about its content.

Proposed to Parliament earlier this month, the Rwf2.09 trillion National Budget is more than Rwf1.95 trillion for the current year Budget.

“We hope that we can move fast to implement it,” Minister Gatete told journalists shortly after the Budget Law was passed.

He said steps to enable successful execution of the Budget will include printing booklets that explain its content so that citizens can understand what is in it for them and working with implementing agencies, including districts, to ensure that they use the budget according to the plans.

The Government expects 66 per cent of the new Budget to be financed by domestic resources through tax and non-tax revenues, and 17 per cent to come from both domestically and externally secured loans and the remaining 17 per cent obtained from foreign grants.

Officials say the new Budget pushes the country’s ambition to be self-reliant a step in the right direction as the 66 per cent of the approved budget will be domestically funded.

The current Budget was internally funded at 62 per cent.

“It’s quite a step forward if we compare with last year’s budget,” said MP Annonciata Mukarugwiza, deputy chairperson of the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony.

The committee made final analyses and comments on the draft budget before it was tabled back in the plenary yesterday for final approval.

Mukarugwiza said current national priorities have been catered for in the Budget, especially infrastructure projects and President Paul Kagame’s pledges to citizens such as building roads and hospitals among other promises he made to them in his current mandate.

“We believe that the most urgent priorities for the country at the moment have been funded,” Mukarugwiza said in an interview shortly after the Budget was approved.

Budget design

Designed under the theme, “Sustainable growth through infrastructure development and promotion of Made-in-Rwanda,” the new National Budget 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 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 has, hence, put a zero taxation regime on importing garments and leather processing machines, wheat grains and sugar, public transport buses and transit goods vehicles like lorries, road construction heavy machines, as well as telecommunication and electronic equipment such as Points of Sale (PoS) and ATMs.

“They (tax cuts) will create jobs for Rwandans,” Minister Gatete said.

The minister said the Government’s expenditure policies in 2017/18 will be guided by the country’s priorities as laid out in its second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).

The Budget resources in the next fiscal year have hence been allocated towards EDPRS II priorities such as accelerating economic transformation, developing the rural sector, and promoting youth employment and accountable governance.

Critical issues that affect citizens daily and constitute the basis of their future such as health, basic education, food security and nutrition, governance decentralisation, stable public finance management as well as peace and security have also attracted significant funding in the National Budget.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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