Kigali: The Government is set to increase spending on infrastructure projects in the next fiscal year as it seeks to further make doing business and to boost the country's economic growth in the medium term. Estimates contained in the draft budget framework paper, presented to both chamber of parliament by Finance Minister, John Rwangombwa, yesterday, show that in the coming fiscal year, beginning this July, the government will spend Rwf651.1 billion on several infrastructure projects such as roads and energy.
This represents a 4.6 per cent increase from the current development budget - Rwf508.6 billion (42.6 per cent of the 2011/12 overall budget).
The budget is Rwf1,378.4 trillion, representing 29 per cent of the country's nominal GDP. This represents an additional Rwf184.2 billion compared to the current budget which is Rwf1, 194.2 trillion.
According to the minister, the 2012/2013 pre-budget estimate reflects expenditure of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS I) programme.
Rwangombwa noted that the proposed allocation of resources was expected to bring to a close EDPRS phase I. He said certain activities under EDPRS II had been taken under consideration.
Rwangombwa recalled that the number of Rwandans below the poverty line fell from 56.9 per cent in 2006, to 44.9 per cent in 2011, an achievement that surpassed the initial target of 46 per cent.
"This explains that we exceeded the target we had set by a year before the planned period . When we started implementing the EDPRS programme, in 2008, we planned to implement 504 policy actions. To date, 485 policy actions have been implemented, implying that 96 per cent of the targets were implemented, with a year to go."
Rwangombwa noted that all the targets, in general, were attained to a measure of 85 per cent, and what was not achieved is "undoubtedly" on schedule.
Given what has been achieved, the minister said, the government now intends to allocate more resources especially to infrastructure, agriculture, trade, environment, and human capital development.
Rwangombwa noted that infrastructure activities, including transport, energy and telecommunications were allocated Rwf321.2 billion, equivalent to 23.3 per cent of the 2012/2013 budget. In the current fiscal year, the said sectors had been allocated Rwf256.9 billion.
Improvements in agricultural production and food security levels, protecting the environment, and trade and industries which all come under the productive capacities will take Rwf234.2, which is equal to a 17 per cent of the total budget, compared to Rwf208.5 billion in the previous budget.
The development and social sector slot which covers the general population's welfare, health, education, the youth as well as sports and culture is allocated Rwf450.7, or 32.7 per cent of the budget, compared to Rwf358 billion in the 2011/12 budget.
The governance and sovereignty sector is allocated Rwf372.2 billion, or 27 per cent of the budget, compared to Rwf370.7billion in the 2011/2012 budget.
Meanwhile, according to the explanatory note for the 2012/13-2014/15 budget framework paper from the Ministry of Finance, points out risks to economic performance in fiscal year 2012/2013.
It notes that the government's macro-economic framework and budget policy is formulated against the backdrop of global downside risks that stem from weaker global demand, lower commodity prices and higher oil prices.
As noted, the underlying pressures are already beginning to be felt as the value of exports show only a modest increase on account of the projected lower commodity prices.
On the other hand, outlays for oil imports have been increased to respond to the high price levels. Downside risks regarding delays in external donor support funds and flow of domestic revenue also exist, the explanatory note adds.
The ministry says the government will continue to monitor risks and developments more closely with a view to taking corrective actions when required.