KIGALI - The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, has said that a lot has been achieved in the second phase of Decentralization Citizen Participation, Empowerment, Transparency and Accountability (DCPETA).
He made the remarks yesterday while officiating at a forum that brought together government officials, development partners and Civil Society Organizations to discuss matters concerning the decentralization process.
“I had the opportunity to visit every district in the country, during the just concluded Presidential campaigns, where I witnessed the country’s socio-economic transformation as a result of decentralization policy implementation,” he said.
“This is in addition to the testimonies that were made by the citizens in regard to their participation in matters affecting them and their improved socio-economic welfare as a result of decentralization and good governance”.
Musoni stressed that, in the areas of planning and budgeting in local governments, there have been improvements and harmonizing planning between the local and the central governments.
He explained that, the budgeting process has been improved, whereby activities to be implemented by the districts are reflected in their budgets.
The minister added that local government retreats have been institutionalized to provide a forum where local leaders discuss development priorities and issues affecting their performance and make proposals to the central government for possible solutions.
“As we prepare for the third phase of decentralization, evaluation of the implementation of decentralization policy has been conducted and we plan for a validation meeting of all stakeholders,” he said.
“We shall build on the achievements registered to design key performance of the sector in the third phase which will not only focus on the consolidation of what have been achieved in good governance, but also give more attention to local economic development”.
According to Dr. Stephen Klingbiel, the co-Chair of DCPETA representing development partners, decentralization in the country is quite impressive and the structures are in place, but there are some remaining challenges regarding the capacity building on the local levels in terms of procurement and dealing with public financial management issues.
“The third phase of decentralization which will start next year, has to focus on these issues, and development partners are ready to read the results of the evaluation of the second phase and draw the conclusions on how to change their approach and how to improve donor interventions,” he said.
The country’s decentralization policy started in 2006 and is now going for the third phase covering 2010/2012.