The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, yesterday refuted claims that the government’s plan to facilitate Sector Executive Secretaries to get cars had stalled, noting that it is instead in its final stages.
It had earlier been reported that the scheme had hit a snag, citing the cost of the vehicles as the main reason. However, Musoni said that the plan is still on and the government, through the ministries of Infrastructure and Finance, had finalised the plans to finance the scheme.
In May, the Cabinet approved the decision to help the local government officials acquire loans to buy cars to enable them to accelerate various government programs and service delivery in their respective sectors.
However, it turned out that the vehicles suitable for the conditions in which the officials operate in were expensive, a risk to the government and a burden to cars owners because of the bank loans.
Minister Musoni stated that the government negotiated with car dealers for suitable terms favourable to both the suppliers and the executive secretaries who will acquire the loans.
“The government is not going to buy them cars but rather facilitate them to acquire cars. The government will pay taxes for them amounting to a maximum of Rwf8m each and the rest they will finance it through the loans they will acquire.
“The government will also be giving them a monthly lump sum of Rw 208,000 for fuel and vehicle maintenance,” Musoni said.
Roughly, the government will be spending Rwf1 billion annually on paying the monthly lump sum to the 416 Executive Secretaries while Rwf 3.3 billion would be spent on paying the taxes.
“This is Phase Three of the decentralisation process: The first phase was focussed on empowering provinces, the second phase on districts and now in the third phase, we are focussing on empowering sectors and districts at the same time,” he explained.
“Apart from bringing them closer to the people, the reason behind the plan is to facilitate and give them means to go about their daily duties,” Musoni said.
He noted that the plan is to have leadership that gets closer to the people as well as good service delivery, observing that even the recent training they completed was aimed at that.
Without mentioning the models, Minister Musoni said that the vehicles which sector executives would obtain will be “comfortable and suitable” for the conditions they work in, yet not costly.
He further noted that the money to fund the scheme was earmarked in the 2011-2012 national budget which the districts already have.