What Rwandans expect in the 2011/12 budget

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, John Rwangombwa, will today present the 2011/2012 budget to parliament. This is Rwangombwa’s second budget reading as the Minister of Finance and is also the third since Rwanda aligned its fiscal year to that of the EAC.
L-R:Elijah Siringi;  Henry Mulisa;Dekezi Maarifa; Rugumire Makuza
L-R:Elijah Siringi; Henry Mulisa;Dekezi Maarifa; Rugumire Makuza

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, John Rwangombwa, will today present the 2011/2012 budget to parliament. This is Rwangombwa’s second budget reading as the Minister of Finance and is also the third since Rwanda aligned its fiscal year to that of the EAC.

It comes on the heels of rising fuel prices, largely fuelled by the volatility of the global oil market.

Business Times’ Gertrude Majyambere and Maria Kayitesi talked to a cross-section of Rwandans who expressed their views about what the treasury’s priorities should be in this year’s budget.

Below are the excerpts

Government needs to re-visit its tax bracket in terms of Pay As You Earn (PAYE). Government should either increase the tax band to Rwf70.000 or reduce the percentage. The burden is immense, especially to low income earners.  If it persists, government should not expect much from these people as their savings power is affected or lost. Elijah Siringi, an Economist and a Lecturer at SFB.

Government should focus on encouraging investments by giving incentives to local producers.

This will help indigenous companies to compete favourably but also preventing dumping because some cheap products are flooded on the local market while pushing the local companies out of business. 

Government should also encourage arts courses because it’s through such courses that people learn...key elements that contribute to economic growth.

We have seen government encouraging Sciences, through scholarships provided, cut off points (to join university) and other opportunities like post graduate courses. Henry Mulisa, a first year student at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB)

There should be budget funding for youth enterprises and training centres. A reasonable amount should be allocated to job creation and opportunities for youth.

Support and value addition for the agri-businesses should be key in the budget since the largest part of the population depends on it.  Dekezi Maarifa, Manager, Frontiers Adventure Great Lakes Ltd.

The bank interest rate should be reduced to encourage lending. Taxation on essential commodities like fuel should be reduced. I would want to see measures that would reduce inflation and price of commodities implemented. Rugumire Makuza, Advocacy Specialist.