13 February 2013

Rwanda: Improve Your Communication, PM Urges Officials

Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has urged officials from both local and central government to improve communication between them as one way of improving the implementation of performance contracts (imihigo).

The Premier made the call on Wednesday during a meeting that brought together central and local government officials as well as senior officers from all government agencies to assess the progress of this year's imihigo implementation.

"We are doing well, but there is still a room for improvement," Habumuremyi said, urging the officials to improve their communication highlighted as the main challenge between local and central government when it comes to executing some projects.

In general, mid-term assessment of performance contacts has indicated good progress countrywide, ranking Ruhango district as the most advanced district with 80% of all targets being on good track. The district pledged to achieve 50 commitments within this fiscal year, and 44 of them have surpassed 50% of their implementations.

"Ruhango is the only district so far that has no delay in implementing all committed activities," pointed out Egide Rugamba, the Director General of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the ministry of local government.

The good performance countrywide was especially observed in agricultural production, twelve year basic education (12YBE) and Umurenge SACCO. On the other side, most of the activities behind schedule are those directly implemented by sector ministries and other agencies.

Considerable delays were for instance observed in the projects to transform Milk Collection Centers (MCCs) into dairy business centers equipped with basic lab equipment and reagents. Agriculture Minister Agness Kalibata explained that their main challenge has been cash flow, but committed herself to finish the program by the end of the year.

Other big projects such as water supply, feeder roads, health center construction and biogas were also observed to be lagging behind due to delays in the procurement process and disbursement of funds. In addition, other commitments such construction of the border complex at Kanyaru, Nyagatare animal feed factory and a market in Nyamyumba and Busasamana sectors of Rubavu district among others seem impossible to be achieved within this year, prompting concerned officials to request the removal of these commitments. But this request was questioned.

"Imihigo's purpose is not about getting 100% during the evaluation, but to foster national development," noted Anastase Shyaka, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), adding that removing commitments would push some authorities to voluntarily postpone some of their pledges once they realize unable to achieve them on time.

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