14 November 2012

Rwanda: Parliament Budget Committee On Tour to Assess Districts

Members of the Chamber of Deputies' Committee on National Budget and Patrimony have embarked on a countrywide tour assessing how development projects under the 2011/12 national budget were being implemented.

The MPs are divided into two groups, one headed by the committee's Chairperson, Constance Mukayuhi and another led by the Deputy Chairperson, Abbas Mukama.

"We are looking at the various development projects in districts to ensure that the budgetary allocations we approved were put to good use. Value for money is of the essence here. We want to see if the projects they presented to us were implemented," Mukama told The New Times, on phone, from Nyanza district, on Wednesday.

Every year, six months after Parliament passes the budget, the Budget Committee conducts field visits to ascertain value for money.

According to the lawmaker, critical areas such as gender budgeting as provided for in the nation's development budget are given more attention during thetours.

MPs are also looking into infrastructural projects like terracing and road construction, and social protection programmes like cattle stocking, and the implementation of Vision Umurenge Programme (VUP).

According to Mukama, so far, projects were fairly executed in the toured districts despite two main challenges - little development money compared to the country's needs as well as the unpredictability of budget support from development partners that hindered the realisation of some targets.

Mukama noted that "only 20 percent of Rwandans are paying taxes" yet the country could do better if all able citizens registered with the tax collector.

"Rwandans should understand the importance of paying tax. We have very many who do not register with Rwanda Revenue Authority and therefore, the body can't get appropriate statistics since it is only after registering that the category of a tax payer can be known. Many are not paying VAT. It is tax revenue that is helping build this country," he said.

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