The New Times (Kigali)

17 April 2014

Rwanda: Districts On Track to Meet Fiscal Year Targets, MPs Say After Field Visits

Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony have welcomed the current performance of districts in project implementation in the current fiscal year, two months before it ends - in June.

But they have also warned the central government against diverting finances to unplanned activities, which they say delays implementation of planned projects.

The parliamentarians wrapped up their three-week tour of districts this week, and have since been meeting central government officials to sahre their findings.

Meeting with officials from the Ministry of Local Government (Minaloc) on Wednesday, the MPs said districts were on track to fully execute their budgets by the end of the current fiscal year 2013-2014.

The parliamentarians confirmed Minaloc's reports that budget execution in districts is at more than 80 per cent.

They, however, said that more effort is needed to ensure that planned projects are given priority.

MP Francesca Tengera, a member of the parliamentary committee, who led the delegation, said the district officials' only request was for the central government to stop diverting them from planned projects.

The legislators cited activities that had been unplanned in certain districts and had to be implemented in the ongoing 1,000-day national campaign against malnutrition seeking to curb malnutrition for children below the age of two.

While some districts had planned for the implementation of the campaign, others had not integrated it in their planning process, yet they had to allocate some money and time to implement it.

Justus Kangwage, the Mayor of Rulindo District and chairperson of the Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA), said the central government and districts have harmonised the planning process and reduced cases of unplanned activities.

He, however, admitted that more remains to be done to ensure better planning and execution of activities.

"Value for money will be achieved if planned projects are efficiently implemented," he said.

The Permanent Secretary of Minaloc, Vincent Munyeshyaka, said a lot had been done to reduce on unnecessary expenses, especially on meetings.

The official said there was a plan to drastically reduce on the number of meetings and other activities so as to allocate more resources and time to project implementation.

Munyeshyaka said one of the ways Minaloc used to save time of district officials is the use of a video conference system.

On budget execution, Munyeshyaka said monitoring districts' budgets to ensure that planned activities are implemented on time will be strengthened.

The country's decentralisation policy is based on the government's commitment to empowering local people to determine their own future but the central government still guides local governments on policy issues, monitoring and evaluation, capacity building, and resource mobilisation.

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