KIMIHURURA-As the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, John Rwangobwa, presented the 2011/11 national budget to a joint parliamentary session, several lawmakers took the opportunity to put forward their reactions on the budget. The New Times’ Senior Reporter, Edwin Musoni, followed the session, below are the excerpts.
In the education sector, the government plans to construct over 2,000 classrooms and 5,175 teachers will be hired which will significantly reduce the ration of students per teacher.
This is a good initiative to facilitate teachers, but the budget does not indicate any financial incentives to teachers.
The most impressive thing in this budget is that our economy will grow by 8%, however, revenues collected by districts are only 12 percent of what is supposed to be generated which makes me question where the 8 percent growth is derived from.
In my view, I think the budget should allocate funds meant for proper distribution of electricity and should as well have funds meant for distribution of piped water.
Regarding the education sector, there is much that has been done but there is still a problem of the Nine -year basic education. Graduates who fail to extend their studies because they lack tuition fees.
Government should spend more on building technical schools for the students.
Anne Marie Musabyemungu
As a way of boosting tourism, the government should have allocated funds for construction of roads around the Virunga National Park.
It’s always a good initiative to finance programmes aimed at boosting the welfare of the people, but if the population growth rate continues to increase, we will not achieve what we planned for.
For example, doctors end up failing to attend to all their patients appropriately just because they are too many and this also applies to teachers; there is no way a teacher will give quality education while attending to an overwhelming number of children. This is why we should have a budget for population control.
I got concerned when the Minister told us that the cash ratio of banks is 22.3%, but the cash ratio required by the Central Bank is 10%, which clearly indicates that the banks have enough liquidity to offer loans. Also, we were informed that the reserved finances grew from 5.5% to 10.2% which still signals the banks’ capacity to give out loans.
Also, the bank rate as set by the Central Bank usually rotates between 6-10% which means that commercial banks can borrow money from the central bank easily. And my concern is, why don’t these commercial banks reduce their interest rate, which is currently set at 16%?
In the budget document, it is indicated that the private sector is not growing to the expectations, and this is justified by the high interest rate. These banks are making a lot of profits they should decrease the interest rate.