Hon. John Rwangombwa, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, presented a revised budget for fiscal year 2012/13 to the plenary session of the Lower Chamber of Parliament.
The original 2012/13 Budget approved by Parliament was RWF 1385.3 billion. Minister Rwangombwa indicated that it would be revised upwards to RWF 1549.9 billion. The increase was a combination of additional resources worth RWF 227 billion from sovereign bond proceeds and a reduction in the original budget of RWF 62.4 billion representing aid cuts.
The Minister also presented Rwanda's fiscal performance for the first half of the fiscal year. Total resources, domestic and external, were projected to reach RWF 804.1 billion with total expenditures reaching RWF 670.8. However, due to budget support suspension, total resources for that period experienced a shortfall of RWF 156.5 billion which in turn caused total expenditures to be RWF 74 billion lower than originally projected.
Taking into account the performance of the July-December period, the budget for 2012/2013 was revised to reflect several factors: suspension of all undisbursed bilateral donor budget support for the remaining fiscal year, a total of RWF 54.4 billion; reduction in the reimbursements from UN for peacekeeping operations; and inclusion of the proceeds from the sovereign bond.
In terms of domestic resources, the Minister indicated that the estimate of tax collections have been maintained as Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is expected to reach its projected target.
Minister Rwangombwa said that government expenditures have been increased to 924.3 billion to cater for expenditures related to the Convention Center and Rwandair linked to the Sovereign Bond. On the other hand, non-wage expenditures have been cut by 40% due to austerity measures although the wage bill is expected to remain constant reflecting a government-wide recruitment freeze.
Furthermore, the Minister also indicated that undisbursed donor budget support from AfDB and the World Bank would likely be released and the said funds were considered in the revised 2012/13 budget.
He expressed hope that all other undisbursed funds would also be released; however, these funds would be reflected in the 2013/14 budget.
In conclusion, the Minister reassured Parliamentarians that cuts were made mainly to budget items that will not significantly affect service delivery. Similarly, projects from infrastructure (especially energy) and productive sectors like agriculture, including all projects in local governments, will be protected from the budget cuts due to their contribution to the economy.
The presentation of the revised budget was followed by an extensive question and answer period.