The Covid-19 vaccination project has been allocated Rwf42.9 billion in the next fiscal year, Uzziel Ndagijimana the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning has said.
Ndagijimana was on Tuesday, June 22, presenting the Rwf3,807 billion budget for the fiscal year 2021/22, which represents Rwf342.2 billion increase compared to Rwf3,464.8 billion in the revised budget for the current financial year which will end on June 30.
He said that the funding will support Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme, which is core for economic recovery.
"Vaccinating people against the Covid-19, along with the funding for businesses affected by the pandemic are critical to recovery," Ndagijimana said.
In March this year, government estimated that Rwanda's Covid-19 vaccination process could cost up to about $120 million (about Rwf120 billion), with short term costs standing at $47 million (about Rwf47 billion). The cost of the entire process includes logistics, distribution and facilitation.
The country targets inoculate 7.8 million people or 60 per cent of the population by June next year in order to achieve herd immunity.
Only over 390,000 people - or over 3.2 per cent of the Rwandan population estimated at 12 million - had been vaccinated against Covid-19 as of June 21.
Also known as population immunity, herd immunity is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection, but the former is preferable.
To immunise 7.8 million people against Covid-19 would require Rwanda to administer 15.6 million doses of vaccines in case they are two-dose jabs, but that number would reduce when single-dose shots are factored in.
Meanwhile, even as Covax is expected to avail about 1.2 million vaccine doses to Rwanda, the country will need to acquire more doses to realise its vaccination targets.
Rwanda also secured an additional 2.6 million doses from AU's Union's African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
Focus on economic recovery from the pandemic
This budget was prepared during the time when the country is still struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic, where the required funding is more than the country's financial means.
Ndagijimana said that a large amount will be used to finance projects planned in line with economic recovery including the expansion of the Covid-19 recovery fund.
In addition, he indicated, the budget will prioritise the fulfilment of the government's commitments to provide counterpart funding in projects supported by development partners, and paying the arrears that the government owes to residents such as in expropriation compensations as well as to contractors who offered it services.
Some changes in overall allocations
The financial plan for 2021/2022 was allocated based on three pillars of the government's seven year programme (the first phase of the National Strategy for Transformation, which runs from 2017 to 2024). They are economic, social, and governance transformation pillar.
Economic transformation pillar projects were allocated Rwf2,234.2 billion, or 58.7 percent of the total budget.
Social transformation pillar was allocated Rwf1,034 billion, or 27 percent, while the transformational governance pillar was got Rwf538.3 billion, or 14.1 percent of the budget.
The spending statistics suggest that there were budget adjustments based on the MPs' views during the hearing sessions.
The economic transformation pillar was allocated over Rwf2,265.8 billion, accounting for 59.5 per cent of the budget, the social transformation pillar got over Rwf1,000 billion, or 26.7 per cent, while transformational governance pillar was allotted over Rwf526.4 billion, representing 13.8 of the financial plan.