The 2013/2014 fiscal year Budget was yesterday presented to the public. Lawmakers commended the Ministry of Finance for a well-prepared budget, noting that their earlier proposals were considered.
Abbas Mukama, deputy chairperson of the Committee on Budget and National Patrimony. ‘The fact that our development budget is increasingly being financed by our domestic revenues is commendable. Sixty per cent of our budget coming from domestic tax revenues is something to be proud of. This is history being made. That our development budget reaches this target of 48.6 per cent, for the first time, is also worth commending. The fact that 50 per cent of the budget is also going into EDPRS II is another milestone as it factors into the broad mission of economic transformation – creating employment for the youth and so on. It is the first time that all the things we requested for as we scrutinised the draft Budget are being incorporated. This indicates good working relationship between the Legislature and the Executive to advance our country’s development.’
Henriette Mukamurangwa. ‘When it comes to tapping more tax revenues, access by businesses to the new electronic billing machines should be eased. Why can’t the agency in charge do it as EWSA does? They could let all registered traders have them and then, gradually everyone who has it pays slowly until they clear. Increasing tax on construction material, too, is something to think about. It is good that we want to increase tax revenue, but won’t this have a negative impact on the sector?’
Saidat Mukanoheri. ‘I appreciate the speed Rwanda has reached in as regards promoting economic development. The minister has told us about the plan to increase electricity, however, I am also interested in knowing about plans to enhance energy trade with neighbouring countries. I also wish to know more about plans to increase electricity through tapping wind and solar energy. It is worth commending the fact that we are on a good path towards self-reliance.’
Juvenal Nkusi, PAC chairperson. ‘A lot has been achieved and a lot more will definitely be achieved, but I have questions. The minister, while highlighting the international situation, indicated that prices linked to petroleum products will come down. The same applies to agricultural prices. Where is this optimism that these prices will come down coming from? Is this optimism really based on a solid ground? Another thing is that we are told that fighting soil erosion is at 50 per cent currently. Is this true? They once told us that it was at 90 per cent!
Constance Rwaka Mukayuhi, chairperson Budget Committee. ‘I appreciate the manner in which funds were allocated in accordance with EDPRS II. I’m impressed with decentralisation that will see funds taken to sector level. Effort is now needed to ensure accountability. Exports could be to Africa and less emphasis on our traditional trading partners but our immediate region and the continent. I wish to know how investments can be augmented.’
Umuraza Landrada. ‘I appreciate the fact that our Budget is going to be buttressed by a 60.2 per cent that is coming from our own domestic revenues. This reduces the concerns we had basing on a Budget that relied heavily on donors and their unpredictable ways. I also appreciate that 50 per cent of this Budget is going into activities that will fast-track the welfare of Rwandan citizens.’
Jean Thierry Karemera. ‘We have a serious problem of unemployed people in this country. There are many unemployed people. We heard about an amount of a lot of money, about 10 per cent of the budget, which is planned to be put into the youth. I hope this money is really going to help the youth have benefiting projects – it should be put into activities that especially reduce the rates of unemployment. I request that more effort is put in public finance management.’
Gideon Kayinamura. ‘The electronic billing system could be improved. I think we can increase the domestic revenue collection. I heard that there is a new system of ePayment. I want to propose that the people responsible should go and see how things are done elsewhere so as to improve it. Information I have is that the system we are using far behind modern advanced technology because I am told it is like using the fax today, yet others are using WiFi in electronic payment, or in broadband. A new and better system will help us tap more revenues and at a faster and more efficient manner that is desired by the country.