In an extraordinary session held on Friday, MPs approved four bills authorising the ratification of loan and grant agreements totalling US$132,900,311(around Rwf 89 billion) from various donors including the Export-Import Bank of India.
All the bills, which the Chamber of Deputies overwhelmingly voted to pass without going through the normal standing committee scrutiny, were presented by Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Amb. Claver Gatete.
The first bill authorises the ratification of a loan agreement signed in Kigali, on October 26, between Rwanda and the Export-Import Bank of India, the South Asian country’s premier export finance institution.
It relates to the credit of US$120,050,000 for export targeted modern irrigation agricultural projects especially in Eastern Province’s Kirehe District.
The minister requested for a speedy approval of the bill – bypassing the normal long but thorough scrutiny by which standing committees are assigned the work.
The minister’s wish was granted after majority in the House voted for an express endorsement.
Nonetheless, three of the five lawmakers who were against the move made their voices heard.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC)’s Chairperson, MP Juvenal Nkusi, said: “I agree that in a democratic system, majority have their way, but I think that if I pass a bill without understanding the detail of its content, I would be missing something when I am supposed to work with my colleagues to help sensitise Rwandans to embrace this new system [of export targeted modern irrigation]. Work on it would have taken only about three days.”
MP Jean-Thierry Karemera, a member of the PAC also sounded worried because, he said, the committee’s experience while analysing the Auditor General’s reports proves that the use of such donor funds is often challenging.
The second bill that was approved authorises the ratification of the grant agreement signed in Kigali, on October 16, between the government and the International Development Association (IDA), relating to a grant of US$45,206 for the preparation of the landscape approach to forest restoration and conservation project.
Gatete told MPs that the deal was signed with a view to the financing of the preparation of the landscape approach to forest restoration and conservation project.
Project preparation cost is estimated at US$120,548 and it will be funded by the IDA acting as administrator of the Least Developed Country Fund (USD 45,206) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) acting as an Implementing Agency of the Global Environment Facility [GEF] (US$ 75,342).
The latter deal, also approved, was signed on October 15 in Kigali between government and IBRD.
“The landscape approach to forest restoration and conservation project is developed around a landscape approach which will bring the forest ecosystems into better management. They will be achieved through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, increased forest cover, climate change adaptation efforts together with combating land degradation,” Gatete said
Munini Hospital to benefit
MPs also approved a loan agreement signed in Kuwait, on November 12, between the government and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, relating to the loan of KWD [Kuwaiti Dinar] 3.6 million (US$ 12,730,303.34), meant for Munini Hospital in Southern Province’s Nyaruguru District.
Gatete said that the project comprises the construction of the new Munini District Hospital with capacity of 300 beds.
“It also includes the supply of medical and auxiliary equipment and the consultancy services for design, supervision of construction and procurement,” he said.