Budget: MEPs want government to correct socio-economic development funding shortfalls | The new times

The Chamber of Deputies has identified 207 most urgent funding shortfalls that require Rwf348.2 billion to be corrected, or 7.5% of the proposed national budget of over Rwf4.6 trillion for the next financial year.

MPs want the government to fill these gaps to support the country’s socio-economic development agenda.

This was set out on Friday 10 June 2022 during the plenary session of the Lower House of Parliament, which adopted the report of its National Budget and Heritage Committee on MPs’ contributions to the Budget Framework Document (BFP) for 2022 /2023.

During the presentation of the report to the plenary, MP Omar Munyaneza, chairman of the National Budget and Heritage Committee, which analyzed the BFP, said that the members of the committee had discussed these funding shortfalls with the ministry. Finance and Economic Planning to resolve them.

“Of these gaps, 50 requiring Rwf 32.6 billion are expected to be filled at the beginning of the 2022/2023 financial year, as the Committee has realized that if they are filled, it will improve development and welfare. people, but, if this is not done, it would prevent the entities in question from fulfilling their responsibility”, observed Munyaneza.

Furthermore, he said that 157 shortcomings, which require 315.6 billion Rwandan Francs, should be addressed during the budget review to avoid a situation where projects undertaken might be stalled and no value for money is achieved.

Some of the funding gaps identified

In Nyabihu district, the construction of a 5.8 km road linking Tubungo (a center in Rugera sector of the district) to Nyakiriba health center in the same sector, is short of more than 1.5 billion rwf required.

Yet, this road was critical to the provision of health care as it would allow ambulance access to the health facility and Shyira Hospital, thus helping to expedite the treatment of patients.

For the district of Burera, there is the issue of expropriation funds to compensate HH (households) for the construction of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE/BUTARO), which requires 2.1 billion Frw to deal with it.

At the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA), the payment of compensations for expropriated properties to pave the way for the implementation of public interest projects, required Rwf 35.3 billion, but it was allocated Rwf 4.6 billion, implying a funding gap of Rwf 30. .7 billions.

Gaps in the agricultural sector:

The Gabiro Agri-Business Hub project needed Rwf 31.4 billion but Rwf 15.9 billion has been allocated meaning the project suffers Rwf 15.5 billion for the next fiscal year.

This project aims to develop an advanced agricultural ecosystem and a modern value chain with advanced water infrastructure, innovative irrigation systems, high value-added agricultural processing operations and other agro-technological activities along the agricultural value chain. value.

It was launched through a partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Netafim – an Israel-based company considered a world leader in irrigation – and will be developed in phases where the first phase requiring an investment of around 73.9 million will cover 5,600 ha and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2023.

The Seed and Fertilizer Subsidy Project to support the Crop Intensification Program (CIP) was allocated Rwf 31 billion against the required Rwf 56.8 billion, implying a gap of Rwf 25.8 billion .

The activities targeted under this project include the distribution of more than 3,430 tons of quality seeds, 50,179 tons of fertilizer in the context of the rising costs of this agricultural input, as well as 37,736 tons of lime with a government subsidy, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. . In the case of a limited budget, these objectives would be unachievable.

Education sector

In the education sector, school equipment with laboratory materials (devices and chemicals) needed Rwf 6.3 billion, but suffered a deficit of Rwf 5.9 billion as there was no was allocated only Frw 381 million.

MPs and Ministry of Education officials agreed that the lack of funding for these important elements would have a negative effect on students’ skills acquisition, therefore calling for support to address the issue.

The same is true for teaching and learning materials for learners with special needs (such as people with disabilities) and teacher training in special education and inclusive education has a funding gap of more than Rwf 1.6 billion.

And, the short-term practical training for 5,000 unskilled people, which is a project implemented through the National Employment Programme/NEP, would cost more than 4.8 billion Rwandan francs, but did not received no money.

Yet more than 55.1 billion rwf was needed to provide education loans to students at local tertiary institutions and process payment of tuition fees and living allowances, but this initiative suffers from a gap of 10 billion rwf because only 44.7 billion rwf was earmarked for this purpose. activity.

For the provision of education loans to students studying abroad in the priority fields/areas, it would be achieved with support of more than Rwf 7.7 billion, but has been allocated only Rwf 5.8 billion Frw, implying a discrepancy of Rwf 1.9 billion.

Health sector:

In the health sector, MPs said the government should seek funds to pay the unpaid arrears of 2.5 billion Rwandan francs due to health facilities.

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

At Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital, there is a need of 400 million Frw to buy drugs.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that two districts (Kayonza and Ngoma in Eastern Province which are prone to drought) have not received a budget to deal with disasters.

MP Odette Uwamariya said, “Kayoza is a disaster-prone district. I don’t understand why no funding was allocated to it.

MEPs advised all entities involved to set aside funds earmarked for disaster relief.

In addition, they recommended increasing funding to increase agricultural production, as well as intensifying crop irrigation efforts to address the effects of drought on agricultural productivity.

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