Rwanda increases 2022/2023 budget to support post-pandemic economic recovery

KIGALI, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The Rwandan parliament on Wednesday approved a budget of 4.6 trillion Rwandan francs (about 4.6 billion U.S. dollars) for the country's 2022/2023 fiscal year that starts next month.

The budget represents an increase of 217.8 billion Rwandan francs compared to the 2021/2022 revised budget.

"The budget reflects successes made in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccination roll-out and other measures as well as the economic recovery that started in 2021. It has also considered the crisis brought by the Russia-Ukraine war, which is affecting the recovery efforts by rising oil and food prices," Uzziel Ndagijimana, Rwandan minister of finance and economic planning told legislators.

The budget increase will focus on financing the post-pandemic economic recovery efforts as well as finance medium-term development objectives enshrined in the National Strategy for Transformation, he added.

The Rwandan government will fund the budget to a tune of 80.5 percent, according to the ministry of finance and economic planning, while external grants will account for 906.9 billion Rwandan francs, which is 19.5 percent of the total budget.

According to Ndagijimana, the Rwandan government will allocate 2.7 trillion Rwandan francs to scale up agriculture productivity, create jobs, support private sector development and strengthen climate change mitigation measures.

The funds will also be channeled toward increasing access to electricity and clean water, support urbanization and settlement, improve the national road network, scale up adoption of ICT, automate Umurenge Sacco's (Sector Savings and Credit Cooperatives) and implement agriculture de-risking and financing facility.

Out of the total budget, about 1.2 trillion Rwandan francs will be spent on improving quality and access to health and education, eradicate extreme poverty through scaling up of social protection programs, improve nutrition through early detection, provision of fortified foods and scaling up of early childhood development facilities.

The funds will also promote family and gender, sports and culture as well as disaster management through enhancing disaster preparedness, response and recovery, according to the ministry of finance and economic planning.

Last month, Rwanda announced an additional 250 million U.S. dollars for the Economic Recovery Fund as part of the country's efforts to support the recovery of businesses severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Economic Recovery Fund prioritizes sectors including tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, transport and logistics, agro-processing, education, and small and medium-sized enterprises linked to domestic and global supply chains, said Rwanda Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente last month while launching the second phase of economic recovery fund.

Rwanda's economy recorded a growth of 10.9 percent in 2021, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).

The agency in a report for the year 2021 said that the sustained recovery during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic managed to reverse the 3.4 percent contraction recorded in 2020.

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