11 October 2017

Rwanda: Senate to Convene Meeting on Management of Public Funds

The Senate has decided to organise a high-level meeting that will bring together leaders in the central government and other stakeholders to discuss poor management of public funds.

The decision was made on Monday at a plenary session in the Upper Chamber of Parliament after senators concluded their analysis of the Auditor-General (AG)'s report for 2015/16.

They resolved that the AG and officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) as well as other officials in charge of managing government funds will be invited to the meeting whose date and venue will be decided later.

The senators made the decision after they noted that many mistakes cited in the annual AG reports over the years have been repeated by different institutions.

"Given the extent of the problem, I think we should have a deep discussion about these issues and we could actually conduct an assessment of the problems before we can invite stakeholders to the meeting," said Senator Chrysologue Karangwa.

The AG's report for 2015/16 showed serious cases of mismanagement of public funds, including a lack of value for money in different public expenditures due to persistent weaknesses in contract management and growing cases of idle assets worth billions bought by government entities.

The report also noted project absorption challenges that affect service delivery, among other issues.

Other issues include wasteful unauthorised, unsupported and fraudulent expenditure of public funds; concerns over corporate governance and financial management in the government's business enterprises; as well as accounting and financial management concerns in government entities.

The senators expressed concern that the mistakes have been repeated over and over again by the same institutions and in some cases by the same people.

Prof. Karangwa, a member of the Senatorial Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance which analysed the AG's report before presenting its findings to the Senate's plenary, said the high-level meeting will serve as a platform for several people to explain why they have consistently failed in meeting the government's accounting and management minimum standards.

"We have to get to the bottom of the matter, otherwise next year we will come back here and talk about the same problems," he said.

Senator Consolée Uwimana concurred, explaining that the meeting could help identify existing challenges and devise solutions to ensure improved management of public funds.

"We need to hear from different people on why it's difficult for them to heed the advice from the Auditor General," she said.

The senators agreed that the Upper Chamber's leadership will work with the standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance to organise the meeting.

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