Parliament has commended government on achievements on social protection plan but also advised it to improve monitoring mechanisms to address implementation challenges.
Legislators were speaking, yesterday, after Premier Pierre Damien Habumuremyi briefed both chambers of Parliament about social protection activities that are focused on improving lives of vulnerable populace yesterday.
The government has 13 social protection programmes, including Ubudehe, Girinka, Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP), and Mutuelle de Santé, meant to uplift the welfare of vulnerable people.
Dr Habumuremyi said, from 2011 to 2017, government’s targets include: reducing the current [44.9 per cent] number of people living under the poverty line to less than 30 per cent, and cutting the number of VUP beneficiaries as well as distributing more than 350,000 cows by 2017 under the Girinka programme.
The Prime Minister listed achievements, beginning 2008 to date that include: Rwf10 billion provided by VUP. The programme currently benefits 42,412 people in 180 sectors. Ubudehe programmes have 10,216 projects being implemented in 15 districts; 172,237 households were given cows under Girinka; and more than 34,911 poor patients with serious illnesses were treated by specialist military doctors during Army Week period.
He also highlighted the challenges such as lack of funds, and a negative mindset “which affects many people, and not only the vulnerable.”
“People should understand that they can’t remain in the category of needy dependants, and that instead, after being supported; they must strive to be self-reliant. To many people, this is possible,” he said.
MP Connie Bwiza suggested that to consolidate the achievements, government should set up better monitoring systems.
“The mindset aspect also calls for extraordinary approach; it actually requires a paradigm shift. This will factor into how we could bring up sustainability as a culture,” Bwiza said.
Focusing on the Girinka programme, MP Marie Therese Murekatete said monitoring on the ground is still poor.
She said little effort is made to ensure that artificial insemination, for example, is effective, adding that veterinary doctors do not follow up and help rural folk.
MP Julienne Uwacu lauded the effort put into constructing houses for the vulnerable but was critical of the One Dollar Campaign in which Rwandans contributed funds for the construction of hostels for survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Uwacu said implementation of the initiative has remained wanting.
MP Nura Nikuze advised that social protection programmes should not only focus on the rural poor as there are vulnerable people in urban areas as well.