More than 13 billion Rwandan francs intended for social protection are “inactive” – watchdog | The new times

According to a report by Transparency International Rwanda, government funds for capitation subsidies and subsistence allowances for vulnerable elderly people, all of which amount to 13 billion Rwandan francs, have been idle for four and ten months respectively.

Presented on Tuesday, November 30, the report aimed to analyze the implementation of the recommendations made by the Auditor General in its audit report for the 2019/2020 financial year in the districts and the City of Kigali.

The report’s findings indicate that 11 billion Rwandan francs allocated for capitation grants to help subsidize public schools have lain unused for at least 139 days – more than four months – which has affected the schools where these funds are supposed to be sent. .

Block Grants are funds distributed to all schools under 12 years of basic education, where each student receives between Rwf 4,860 and Rwf 21,000 per student per year to subsidize education and thus helps to ensure that all Rwandan children go to school.

On the other hand, Rwf 2.4 billion intended for distribution to vulnerable elderly people under the Vision Umurenge Program (VUP) was not distributed to their beneficiaries and remained unused for more than ten months.

Shedding light on the report, Enock Byiringiro, a researcher at Transparency International, said the delays in capitation grants were the result of “blame games” between local authorities and the ministries of education and finance.

“Local authorities have often cited that the software they use to distribute capitation grants – School Data Management System (SDMS) – was not accessible to capture student beneficiary data. On the other hand, the Ministry of Education said it was late to receive the beneficiary lists and approved them to receive the money from the Ministry of Economic Planning,” he said.

On VUP, Byiringiro added that missing beneficiary information often ended up affecting the whole process, which he disagreed with, noting that if a beneficiary was missing, he would have provided the funds to those who meet the conditions.

On this particular point, the watchdog has recommended to the Ministry of Local Government and affiliated agencies to create a team of staff dedicated to VUP financial services because the loss or delay of these funds greatly deteriorates the living conditions of the beneficiaries.

Non-compliance with public procurement laws and regulations was also cited among the problems that marked the exercise examined by the Auditor General.

On a positive note, the watchdog welcomed the government’s efforts to integrate technology into service delivery and invest more to reduce spending weaknesses.

Commenting on the report, the Minister of Local Government, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi attributed the wrongdoing to lack of accountability.

“It is clear that we are not lacking in funds, resources or skills to solve these problems, what we need is responsibility and a sense of responsibility so that our people are served as they are. merit,” he noted.

Addressing the participants, Marie Immacule Ingabire, President of Transparency International, also commended the government of Rwanda for providing the necessary space to advocate for citizens through this research.

“Since we launched this initiative in 2012, we had the ambitious goal of uncovering the challenges and advocating on how the Auditor General’s resolutions should be implemented,” she said. referring to their reviews of the implementation of recommendations. in the Auditor General’s annual reports.

Since then, the watchdog has been able to establish regional offices in all provinces, she continued, and so we are happy that the government of Rwanda has provided this space for our institution.

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Joel C. Hicks