The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, John Rwangombwa, has said that the results achieved in the last three years of implementing the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Assessment (PEFA) in the country, are satisfactory.
Rwangombwa made the remarks yesterday while officially opening a two-day PEFA training workshop in Kigali, which aimed at informing the stakeholders of the nature, purpose and content of PEFA.
“For the first time after the first review (2006) we were able to produce the first consolidative financial statements for the government and we see tremendous improvements in the audit reports we get which are also part of strengthening our reforms,” Rwangombwa said.
PEFA is conducted in line with an international standardized methodology set by its secretariat housed at the World Bank headquarters in Washington.
It assesses the Public Financial Management (PFM) systems which include planning, budgeting, budget execution, procurement, accountability and reporting and internal and external auditing.
In order for the government to remain on track, Rwangombwa said that there is need to take step back and evaluate further achievements that have been made and refocus the reforms where there are weaknesses.
“To realize the PFM area, we have a five-year plan we are implementing and this is not just to get good marks in PEFA, but is in line with the big picture of the government of entrenching good governance in our practices and especially in terms of managing public finance, the taxes we collect from citizens plus the support we get from our partners,” he said.
He commended the WB for supporting this exercise and thanked the donors for relying on PEFA as a tool for assessing public finance systems without coming back, each donor doing their own assessment.
“This exercise means a lot to us (Rwanda) in terms of showing us where we are and in terms of showing us the weaknesses that might still exist”.
The government hired six experts, both local and international, who are going to help carry out the assessment in the four districts of Nyamagabe, Rulindo, Bugesera and Kicukiro.
He appealed to government officials who will be working with the assessment team to accord them all the support they require for the exercise to be successful.
The exercise, he said, is now going beyond the central government and also looking at how the systems are stronger at the local level.
“It’s the first time we are going to assess the strength at the centralized levels, and this will give us a bigger scope when we come at the third generation of public finance management reforms. I am sure, by the end of this exercise, we will be able to know how far we have gone and where we need to strengthen in terms of these reforms,” the minister noted.
The workshop was attended by Constance Rwaka, the chairperson of the budget committee in the Lower Chamber of Parliament as well as heads of diplomatic missions accredited to Rwanda and development partners.