NYARUGENGE - The Ministry of Finance yesterday signed contracts with the Head of European Commission delegation in Rwanda, for an aid worth Euro11.440m (Approx Rwf 8bn) to help the government in emergencies and technical support.
The grant to be disbursed in three batches, will be distributed in three major areas including, Rwf3.8 as assistance for the earthquake relief, Rwf3.4b to increase food security as a response to the rising food prices and Rwf1.5b for capacity building.
James Musoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning explained that the grant will be distributed and shared to boost the country`s economy, especially in the Western Province, as a way to move on with the country`s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). The Western Province was hit by an earthquake early last year.
“The trend is really very impressive but still there is a long way to go,” he said, explaining that there is need to develop irrigation mechanisms to allow people not to rely only on rainy seasons to grow crops.
Musoni elaborated that part of the aid is going to be used in reconstruction and repair of health and school facilities that were devastated by the earthquake especially in Nyamasheke District.
The second part of the aid, worth around five million Euros, will be used to finance labour intensive public works schemes in a move to create more job opportunities for the poor, while another part of the aid is meant to be used in availing funds when studies to identify new programmes are needed.
The Minister explained that the planning has obliged them to direct this aid to Western Province as part of the government`s aim to reduce poverty and in line with the national programme known as “Vision 2020 Umurenge”.
“We couldn`t distribute this aid in all the provinces because it would have little impact,” he noted, adding that national budget plans make appropriate development programmes for every part of the country.
The Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Rwanda, Dr. David MacRae, said in his speech during the signing ceremony that EU mobilised funds for the earthquake that rocked the country early last year and to respond to the world food crisis.
“In times of crisis, due to natural or man-made disasters, there is a need for government and donor partners to be able to respond rapidly,” MacRae said.
Rwanda is reportedly the first African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) country to benefit from this ‘improved form of aid known as the MDG-Contract’ worth Rwf 40 billion for six years.
The MDG-Contract is referred to as a new approach for longer term and, more predictable general budget support.