KIGALI - The government, through the ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, has committed 10% of the national budget to national poverty alleviation programmes.
The fund will be managed by the Ministry of Local Government through the Rwanda Local Development Support Fund (RLDSF) that has replaced the Common Development Fund (CDF).
The CDF has been expanded to include; HIMO, Ubudehe, Village Umurenge Programme (VUP) and other projects designed to reduce poverty levels.
According to officials in the local government ministry, the fund has been expanded in line with government’s decentralization programme.
“In this new move, RLDSF has a fund basket drawn from 10 percent of domestic and related resources amounting to US$100 million annually,” said Elias Baingana, the Director of National Budget in the Ministry of Finance.
He revealed that CDF expansion has been implemented to consolidate the fund’s exemplary performance in alleviating poverty.
“These programmes have been doing well. Poverty levels have been declining. Looking at the budget, the amounts spent by CDF have been increasing every year, including absorption rates, meaning that there is some good work being done”.
Baingana said that the US$100m set aside by the ministry for the fund is scheduled to be up scaled substantially in the near future.
Zephy Muhirwa, the Aid Management Officer at Minecofin, said that since 2000, the trend has been positive with regard to support through disbursements at local levels.
“By expanding CDF, Government is merely elaborating on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Programmes (PRSP).We are on track in as far as provision of a roadmap for this fight against poverty is concerned,” Muhirwa said.
The Director General of the fund, Laetitia Nkunda, said that ever since its establishment in 2002, government has so far pumped Rwf 40bn into the fund while the donors have provided Rwf 51bn towards local development efforts.
“The initial reviews so far indicate that our programmes have indeed impacted on poverty situation across the board,” she said.
“That is why stakeholders are now in discussion on up-scaling the programme to 2012. Consequently some of our funding parties are moving to allot Euros 10m for Ubudehe, which is part of some of our programmes to see us through to 2012”.
Nkunda also revealed that European Union is keen on bankrolling the Labour Intensive Public Works (HIMO) and Vision 2020 Umurenge programme (VUP) to a tune of Euros 4.4m.