Budget: MPs want govt to fix funding gaps for socio-economic devt | The New Times

The Chamber of Deputies has identified 207 most urgent financing gaps that require Rwf348.2 billion to fix, equivalent to 7.5 per cent of the over Rwf4.6 trillion proposed national budget for the next financial year. 

MPs want the Government to address those gaps so as to support the country’s socio-economic development agenda.    

 

This was exposed on Friday, June 10, 2022 during the Plenary Sitting of the Lower Chamber of Parliament, which adopted the report of its Committee on National Budget and Patrimony on MPs’ inputs to the budget framework paper (BFP) for 2022/2023.

 

While presenting the report to the Plenary, MP Omar Munyaneza, Chairperson of the Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, which analysed the BFP, said that committee members discussed those funding gaps with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning so that they are addressed.

 

“Of those gaps, 50 needing Rwf32.6 billion, should be catered for in the beginning of the 2022/2023 fiscal year, because the Committee realised that if they are addressed, it will improve people’s development and welfare, but, if this is not done, it would hinder the entities in question from fulfilling their responsibility,” Munyaneza observed.

Also, he said that 157 gaps, which require Rwf315.6 billion, should be addressed during the budget revision in order to prevent a situation where the undertaken projects might get stalled and no value for money is achieved.

Some of the spotted funding gaps

In Nyabihu District, the construction of a 5.8km road connecting Tubungo (a centre in the District’s Rugera Sector) to Nyakiriba health centre in the same sector, lacks the over Rwf1.5 billion it required.

Yet, this road was critical to healthcare provision as it would enable ambulance access to the health facility, and the Shyira Hospital, hence contributing to expedited patient treatment.

For Burera District, there is the issue of expropriation funds to compensate HHs (households) on the construction of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE/BUTARO), which needs Rwf2.1 billion to address.

In the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA), the payment of compensations for properties expropriated to pave the way for the implementation of public interest projects, needed Rwf35.3 billion, but it was allocated Rwf4.6 billion, implying a funding gap of Rwf30.7 billion.

Gaps in the agriculture sector:

Gabiro Agri-Business Hub Project needed Rwf31.4 billion, but was allocated Rwf15.9 billion, meaning that the project suffers Rwf15.5 billion for the next fiscal year.

This project aims to develop an advanced agricultural eco-system and modern value chain with advanced water infrastructure, innovative irrigation systems, high-value agro-processing operations, and other agrotech activities across the value chain.

It was initiated through a partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Netafim – an Israel-based firm considered a global leader in irrigation – and will be developed in phases where phase one requiring investment of approximately $73.9 million will cover 5,600 ha and is expected to be completed on June 30, 2023.

Seeds and fertilisers subsidies project to support the crop intensification programme (CIP) were allocated Rwf31 billion against the required Rwf56.8 billion, implying a gap of Rwf25.8 billion.

The targeted activities under this project include distributing over 3,430 tonnes of quality seeds, 50,179 tonnes of fertilisers amid the rising costs of this farm input, as well as 37,736 tonnes of lime with Government subsidy, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. In the case of limited budget, these targets would be unachievable.

Education sector

In the education sector, school equipment with laboratory materials (apparatus and chemicals) needed Rwf6.3 billion, but suffered a gap of Rwf5.9 billion because it was allocated only Rwf381 million.

MPs and officials from the Ministry of Education concurred that lack of funding for these important items would have a negative effect on students’ skills acquisition, hence calling for support to solve the problem.

The same applies to the teaching and learning materials for learners with special needs (such as people with disabilities) and training of teachers in special education and inclusive education has a funding gap of more than Rwf1.6 billion.

And, the hands-on-skills, short term training for 5,000 unskilled people, which is a project, implemented through National Employment Programme /NEP, would cost over Rwf4.8 billion, but was not allocated any penny.  

Still, more than Rwf55.1 billion was needed to provide study loans to students in local Higher Learning Institutions and process payments of tuition fees and living allowances, but this initiative suffers a gap of Rwf10 billion as only Rwf44.7 billion was earmarked for this activity.

For the provision of study loans to students studying abroad in top priority areas/fields, it would be achieved with over Rwf7.7 billion support, but was only allotted Rwf5.8 billion, implying a gap of Rwf 1.9 billion.

Health sector:

In the health sector, MPs said that the Government should look for funds to pay Rwf2.5 billion outstanding arrears that are owed to health facilities.

These unpaid medical bills stemmed from the medical services they provided to patients before the Community-based health insurance – Mutuelle de Santé – was transferred to the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) for management.

At the Neuropsychiatric Hospital of Ndera, there is a need for Rwf400 million to buy medicines.

Meanwhile, it was exposed that two districts (Kayonza and Ngoma in Eastern Province which are prone to drought) were not allocated a budget to tackle disasters.

MP Odette Uwamariya said that, “Kayonza is a district that is prone to disasters. I don’t understand why it was not allocated any funding.”

MPs advised that all the concerned entities should put aside the funding meant for tackling disasters.

Also, they recommended increasing the funding intended to increase agricultural production, as well as scaling up crop irrigation efforts in order to address drought effects on farm productivity.

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com



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