By Fidel Munyeshyaka
Rwanda Researcher, GLCSS
 This week the Rwandan Government released its 2007 budget draft that shows an increase of 82.2 billion Rwanda Francs (Frws) for education and 60 billion Frws for infrastructure development.  Finance Minister James Musoni stressed that the 96 billion Frws increase from 2006 was vital to meet crucial national development targets.
 While presenting the draft to parliament, Musoni explained that the government attempted to control recurring expenses and increase the development aspect of the budget.
 “The development budget has increased by 59 percent, from 111.3 billion Frws in 2006. While drafting this budget, not only did we try to reduce the recurring expenses but we reduced donor dependency,” he said.

 
Nearly half of the budget will be provided by tax revenue (242 billion Frws) from the country’s revenue collections. These include income tax, (corporate profit tax, sole trader profit, tax on loans and pay as you earn); value added tax, customs duty and excise duty.
International donors will provide the rest of the budget equivalent to 251 billion Frws –51 percent–and 86 percent of the amount– 215.8 billion Frws –is in the form of donor grants. This means that loans are only 35.14 billion Frws or the equivalent of 14 percent.
Macro Economy Director Oscar Masabo stressed that Rwanda’s external budget support grants are 94.4 billion Frws. He disclosed that the Department for International Development (DFID) is the largest 2007 budget supporter with 36.8 billion Frws followed by the International Development Agency (IDA) with 27.6 billion Frws, the European Union with 12.5 billion Frws, the African Development Fund (ADF) 11.0 billion, Sweden 5.6 billion Frws and Germany 1.0 billion Frws.
 The Finance Ministry Director of Planning André Habimana in an interview with the Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies (GLCSS) specified that in the infrastructure sector, communication and transport improvements are top priorities, which is followed by energy, water and sanitation, soil protection and the Community Development Fund (CDF) infrastructure. 
 In the transport and communication sectors, Rwanda plans to reinforce international trade by modernizing the road, river and lake network. Habimana pointed out this included the modernization of Kanombe and Bugesera airports and the Kigali-Isaka railway by 2015. In terms of river and lake transport development, the government will make Lake Kivu and other lakes and rivers navigable, like Akagera.
 He disclosed that 60 percent of roads are well maintained while 40 percent must be reconstructed or rehabilitated. Concerning un-surfaced roads, only 580km and 203 km of roads of national and communal roads respectively are currently maintained and a network of 3,568km needs to be completely repaired.
In this area, 584km of existing surfaced roads would be rehabilitated. These include 106km of Butare-Cyangugu-Bugarama road and 156km of Kigali-Cyangugu–Gisenyi road. There is also a program to pave180km of roads. These include Ngororero-Mukamira 54km, Kicukiro-Nyamata-Nemba 58km, Ntendezi-Bugarama 38km and urban roads of 30km. Periodic maintenance of 208km of surfaced national roads comprises Kayonza-Kagitumba (116km) and Kayonza-Rusumo (92km).
The rehabilitation of roads, rivers, lakes and air transport is crucial to the country’s economy due to the high cost of transport. Once the Kayonza-Rusumo road is rehabilitated, it could help the Kigali–Byumba-Kagitumba road towards Uganda and Kenya, which is the most used route for importing and exporting goods.
The rehabilitation of those roads will facilitate regional and international integration.  This is highly significant as Rwanda is a landlocked country located 1,800 km from the Indian Ocean and 2,000 km from the Atlantic Ocean.
Behind the transport sector, the second priority in infrastructure programs is the energy sector. Habimana told GLCSS that the country encourages the construction of micro-hydroelectric stations, new and renewable industries, and the exploitation of methane gas for the production of electricity to supplement the country’s energy deficit.
“The electrification master plan of Rwanda will install a gas thermal station of 30 MM at Kibuye and another station at Gisenyi,” he said, adding that a hydroelectric station at Nyabarongo and Rukarara, as well as a thermal station of 10 MM for emergency in Kigali City are also on the agenda. He further disclosed that some of the existing hydroelectric power stations have been rehabilitated including Muhira, Gisenyi, and there are plans to rehabilitate the oil tanks at Bigogwe.
The 2007 budget targets improving the supply of oil to Rwanda. There are plans to construct a petroleum pipeline from Kampala to Kigali. Oil products represent five percent of consumed energy at the national level and the pipeline will impact transport costs, therefore in turn, it will have a positive impact on general prices and inflation. It is important to notice that 80 percent of oil products are used in transport sector.
The access to improved transport and communication as well as the energy within the country especially in rural areas can have direct impact on poverty reduction through increasing non-agriculture employment opportunities.  Sources told GLCSS that with the increase in energy production, Rwanda could create 1.4 million jobs by 2020.
Other areas that received a fiscal boost were the Kigali Water Project that was allocated 3.3 billion Frw, rural water supply and sanitation has been allocated 3.4 billion Frws and the Common Development Fund (CDF), which was allocated 5 billion Frws for projects in Rwanda.   
Finally, the education sector took the lion’s share of the budget with 82.2 billion Frw. Habimana told GLCSS that the amount will be used in consolidating progress towards universal primary education, and for the secondary and university level, the amount will be used to import foreign teachers especially in the science and technology domain.
“We want  to ensure  primary teacher supply in sufficient numbers to reduce  pupil-teacher  ratios, reduce  double  shifting, developing  curriculum materials and  in strengthening school management  strategies ,” he said.
The Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) gives priority to the development of primary education. Rwanda has universal primary education. However some 3000 new teachers are required to reduce pupil-teacher ratios from 67 pupils to 45 pupils to one teacher by 2015.

You may contact Fidel Munyeshyaka at fidel@glcss.org.  GLCSS trains African journalists, offers an on-site internship to foreign African studies students, and manages an exchange program with journalists from the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe.

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