The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, James Musoni has assured lawmakers that the recent suspension of financial aid to Rwanda by the Netherlands and Sweden will not affect the economic operation’s of the country in any way.
The two European countries announced their suspension of aid to Rwanda following a report by a UN group of experts who linked Rwanda to a rebel group in the DR Congo, claims that Rwanda vehemently denies.
On Monday evening Members of Parliament questioned the minister about the impact of the financial aid suspension during the final approval of the 2009 mini budget and the review of the 2009 State Finance Law of six months.
The suspended Dutch aid totaled Euro 3 million (Approx Frw 773million) while the suspended aid from Sweden totals Euro 11 million (Approx Frw 8,5billion).
Musoni assured the lawmakers that Rwanda has about Frw 290 billion in the state reserves, that would not be affected by the suspension.
He however added that before the countries had suspended their aid, they had in the previous year not provided Rwanda with the aid.
“The main issue that we should look at is laying strategies of living without or with minimal foreign dependence,” said Musoni.
“In the mini budget of 2009, the government has planned for Frw 20 billion that would go into the state reserves; if the two countries don’t contribute to the budget support, the government will use its reserves meaning the economic operations of the country will not be affected,” explained Minister Musoni.
He however added that responsible Ministers of Netherlands and Sweden have contacted Rwanda and have expressed will to hold talks with the government.
The talks between the parties involved are expected to resume early next year. However Musoni, told the legislators that there are some financial partners of Rwanda who have come out openly to trace the UN report and said that they would continue providing their financial aid to Rwanda.
He pointed out the European Commission has since pledged to keep providing Rwanda with its financial aid and to keep bilateral relations firm.
The European commission to which both the Dutch and the Swedes are among the major contributors, is also one of Rwanda’s major donors.
Minister Musoni stressed that the government has expressed no fear in the withdrawal of financial aid by some European countries saying that in 2004 the same situation happened when some donor countries stopped their aid and later resumed it.