MPs in the Lower House on Monday started a five-day field tour of districts in the Northern Province to assess implementation of the government’s programmes designed to improve people’s lives in the current financial year 2017-2018.
After Northern Province, the lawmakers will head to Western Province and the City of Kigali. Southern and Eastern Provinces will be covered in the second phase in March, officials said, adding that some Rwf200 million will be spent on the entire exercise.
The legislators will be looking at such projects as building modern homes for vulnerable members of society who need to be relocated to modern settlements, construction of feeder roads, scaling up of medical services, and rapid electrification, among other projects.
The lawmakers also intend to look at how the people at the grassroots observe hygiene standards and proper nutrition, and how they respect their respective cities’ master plans to encourage planned housing and rural settlement.
The Deputy Speaker in charge of Finance and Administration, Abbas Mukama, told The New Times that the trip will help lawmakers provide timely advice to the government in case certain projects have stalled.
“We want to look at how the projects we approved in the current budget are being implemented and look at all these programmes and see how they are being executed and the challenges being faced,” he said.
The tour of the Northern Province will be followed by a similar exercise in Western Province from January 15-20, before the MPs conduct a tour of the City of Kigali from February 3-5.
MP Francesca Tengera, a member of the parliamentary Committee on Budget and National Patrimony, said the legislators’ field tour is timely because it will give them a good understanding of what is happening on the ground ahead of the annual National Leadership Retreat, which normally takes place in the first quarter of the year.
“We will have enough information ahead of the Leadership Retreat and, depending on our findings, we can also advise the government without waiting for the retreat, depending on the urgency,” she said.
The legislator said the timing was also appropriate because no urgent plenary sessions scheduled.
MP Anita Mutesi indicated that their trip to the Northern Province will primarily look at whether projects whose budget has been allocated in the current fiscal year are already running or whether some of them did not receive the funds and there is probably need for advocacy.
“We are half-way into the budget execution and it’s a good time to examine whether some of these projects are already having an impact,” she said.
In Gicumbi, where she will cover during the exercise, Mutesi said that she intends to assess how the district is doing in regards to land consolidation programme, constructing homes for the vulnerable, urban settlement, and electrification, among others.
Under the 2017/18 National Budget, worth Rwf2.09 trillion, the government planned to undertake major infrastructure projects across the country.