Rwanda: Govt to Pay Arrears Owed to Contractors As MPs Approve Budget

A plenary sitting of the Chamber of Deputies on Monday, June 29, 2020, voted the Law determining State Finances for the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

Under the budget, the Government will pay all outstanding bills to contractors for various services offered.

The more than Rwf3.2 trillion financial plan will be executed from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

All 67 MPs who had convened for the session voted for the budget law.

While tabling the Committee's report on the scrutiny of the State Budget for 2020/2021, MP Omar Munyaneza, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony said that the issue of arrears will be sorted out in the budget.

He was responding to MP Odette Uwamariya's question on the gap related to works done by contractors in the previous period but they were not paid because of financial constraint in the 2019/2020 budget.

She said that the issue could impair the quality of private-public partnership if it remained unsettled.

"In line with promoting the private sector, the pending invoices should be paid in this financial year (2020/2021) so that we support the private sector but also prevent court cases that might arise from unpaid bills," she said giving an example of Rwf846 million owed to private service providers in Rwamagana District.

MP Munyaneza also noted that MPs had requested that the works done by the contractors be paid to avoid adverse consequences.

"The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning said that no outstanding invoice will be unpaid in this financial year [2020/2021]. Their money is available [in the budget]," he said indicating that all contractors including those in Rwamagana District and the City of Kigali, will be paid for the services or work they provided under the national budget plan.

The City of Kigali had the biggest funding deficit of more than Rwf70 billion, most of which consist of arrears that it owes different entities, including Rwf11.4 billion to pay expropriation compensations.

Gaps and priorities considered

Overall, parliamentarians commended the Government for taking into account the identified funding gaps and priorities in the new budget.

During budget hearings, lawmakers showed that 61 funding gaps that needed Rwf210 billion to be filled.

MP Munyaneza said that about Rwf158 billion is ready to bridge such identified gaps.

The priorities, he said, include the agriculture sector which was allocated an additional Rwf30.1 billion to increase the sector productivity, and school feeding and construction of more than 22,000 classrooms which were added Rwf89.9 billion in a bid to increase the number of schools and tackle overcrowding in class.

Legislators said that food security was a priority for Rwandans during or post Covid-19 pandemic.

Munyaneza observed that the construction of a health centre in Burera District was also allocated the required more than Rwf500 million in order to help Rwandans [in the district] get medical services within the country instead of looking for them outside.

He pointed out that other funding gaps which remain will be filled in the following fiscal years under the mid-term budget framework.

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com

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