The New Times (Kigali)

8 June 2012

Rwanda: Local Govt Allocates Lion's Share of Budget to Survivors, Veterans

The welfare of ex-combatants and student Genocide survivors will receive the lion's share of the Ministry of Local Government's (Minaloc 2012/13 fiscal year budget allocation, the Chamber of Deputies' committee on budget and national patrimony heard on Thursday.

According to the Permanent Secretary,Cyril Turatsinze, out of the total Rwf45.88 billion Minaloc budget share, the Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) and the Fund for the Support for Genocide survivors (FARG) will get Rwf11, 199, 815, 520 and Rwf11, 149, 819, 448, respectively.

RDRC Commissioner, Fred Nyamurangwa, told MPs that priority activities for the next financial year will include: demobilisation of ex-armed groups and providing reinstation support to their civilian dependants; payment of subsistence allowances to vulnerable disabled ex-combatants as direct support; medical rehabilitation and treatment and providing training to over 120 cooperatives.

RDRC plans to rehabilitate 2,075 ex-armed and 4,150 of their civilian dependants, all at a cost of over Rwf143 million. In addition, 2,600 ex-combatants will be rehabilitated at a cost of over Rwf771 million.

"We have started a new programme in which even as we welcome ex-combatants who have split from Abacengezi (armed militia), we also have to pay attention to their dependants or families. These are people who had fled and spent almost 18 years outside the country and we realise that they also need to be reintegrated into government plans," Nyamurangwa said.

According to Nyamurangwa, socio-economic reintegration support to ex-combatants will include the construction of houses for severely disabled ex-combatants who have been put into categories.

Category one gets a house, medical support or treatment and a monthly allowance of Rwf 50,000 while category two gets a house, medical support and Rwf35,000, per month.

Nyamurangwa, however, noted that in case of critical medical conditions that require huge sums of money, affected ex-combatants are facilitated in a special way including treatment at King Faysal Hospital or abroad.

Since 1997, over 70,000 ex-combatants have been reintegrated.

In 2011/12, FARG received a budget allocation of Rwf9 billion but Rwf 8.3 billion was committed and executed at 93 per cent.

The Executive Secretary of the Fund for Genocide Survivors (FARG), Théophile Ruberangabo, told lawmakers that its estimated Rwf 11 billion current budget share would go into skills development targeting senior six leavers with no chance of pursuing university.

"Up to now, we have a challenge of many students who complete secondary education but do not manage to join universities. This year, we have 6,000 students but given the budget that we have, only 3,918 students, it appears, will not get anything even if we considered short courses," Ruberangabo said.

"He noted that FARG is putting emphasis on cooperatives and productive initiatives, especially to supplement the One Cow per Family programme. This year alone, they were able to distribute 2,000 cows. He noted that in total, 4,000 cows have been distributed to FARG beneficiaries.

The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, told MPs that the FARG was "a complicated issue" based on the troubles it has encountered since 1998.

"Many things were done in a disorganised manner, but now things are getting in order - the system is better built and the partnership with beneficiaries seems clearer..

In the Thursday morning committee session, Turatsinze, Minister James Musoni and heads of Minaloc affiliated agencies appeared before the committee to defend their budget allocations and previous budget executions.

Turatsinze noted that the ministry, as an agency, gets Rwf 4, 674, 579, 692, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) obtains Rwf 4, 522, 753, 289, Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) Rwf 2, 250, 372, 614 and RODA/ Rwanda Local Development Support Fund (RLSDF) Rwf 2, 418, 698, 908.

The National Identification Authority (NIDA) Rwf 3 254 938 058, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) Rwf 593,533,619, Itorero ry'Igihugu Rwf 748,565,572, the public broadcaster, ORINFOR, gets Rwf 4,502,629, 114 while the Media High Council (MHC) receives Rwf 562,282,346.

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