BUDGET STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT FOR 2003
Hon. DONALD KABERUKA
MINISTER FOR FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING
29TH NOVEMBER 2002
Honourable Members of Parliament
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Last year I presented to this august house a budget that had as its central theme the
poverty reduction strategy.
2. This year, the financial and economic polices that are encapsulated in the
Governments budget proposals for fiscal year 2003 which I have the honour and
privilege to table before Parliament, consolidates that process and takes in to account
the challenges which the country faces in 2003. As I have already stated on previous
occasions, the budget is about choices. There are many programmes that need to be
carried out, but our means are limited. The budget proposals inevitably contain indeed
some hard choices.
3. The recurrent budget is set to rise by 18.5% from 126.3 billion francs in the current year
to 149.7 billion francs in 2003. The Development Budget (including debt and arrears
payments as well as net lending) is projected to increase by 23.7 % from 81.3 billion to
100.6 billion francs.
4. The importance and urgency of the policy agenda for 2003 justifies the increased
allocations made in the budget estimates for 2003. Many programmes are time-bound or
linked to social and political imperatives that condition the future stability of our country
and the well being of our population. Over and above the need to step up the
implementation of the poverty reduction programme, the agenda for fiscal year 2003
(i) Improving transport infrastructure, road maintenance and rehabilitation
(ii) Providing for increased expenditure on health programmes
(iii) The referendum, adopting a new Constitution marking the end of the transition and putting in place new institutions
(iv) Decentralisation and take off of the CDF
(vi) Demobilisation and Reintegration
(vii) Making a significant reduction in the size of domestic debt arrears which tends to have significant knock-on effects on the economy
5. The Government remains fully aware of the importance of fiscal and debt
sustainability. To that effect, the budget will be financed in a manner that continues to
ensure that the platform of macroeconomic stability achieved of the last four years is
maintained. This Budget aims for increased domestic revenue generation, but in the
context of tax stability, predictability and harmonisation of central and local government
6. Tax and non-tax revenues are projected to increase by 14.6% from 101.7 billion in 2002
to 116.6 billion in 2003. This increase in domestic resources mobilised to finance the
budget is largely through measures aimed at enlargening the tax base, improvements in
the administration of tax collections. With regards to external loans and grants, the
Government projects an increase of 23% in the coming year from 95.2 billion in 2002 to
117.1 billion in 2003. This remains in line with our commitment to pursue prudent debt
management policies by drawing on grants and exceptional facilities such as debt relief
through HIPC before having recourse to external loans. Domestic borrowing from the
local banking and non-banking systems is set to rise from about 10.7 billion francs in the
current year to 16.5 billion in 2003. We estimate that this can be achieved whilst ensuring
growth in private sector credit and monetary stability.
7. The budget does not introduce any new taxes, apart from corrective measures to
protect the environment and ensure that our local industries have a level playing field. Work has been initiated to harmonise and coordinate local and central government
taxation. Furthermore in reflection of the radical and fast pace of changes in taxes and
fiscal procedures over the last 7 years a consolidated code will be put in place as
requested by taxpayers.
8. The Demobilisation and Reintegration in 2003 will cost 13.7 billion francs. Whilst this
permits reductions in the defence wage bill, the savings will be redeployed essentially to
modernise a more professional defence force. Similarly with the effective start of Gacaca,
the corresponding budget allocation on prisons will inevitably come down. In order to
increase access to higher education needed for capacity building, it has become urgent
to reduce unit costs in universities and higher education institutions. Accordingly, the
budget for foreign bursaries has been reduced in favour of local bursaries and student
9. The Government will also proceed to sell in public auction all Government owned
residential houses whose maintenance costs have continued to strain resources.
Furthermore, until such time as Government can construct or acquire space for different
Ministries and Agencies, who at the moment have to rent, a cap is being put on rentals
per square meter to contain rental expenditure.
THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY
10. Mr. Speaker, before presenting in detail the budget strategy for 2003, allow me to
review briefly the state of the economy for 2002 and how we see projections for 2003. I
can report that overall, forecasts for the growth in economic activity this year has been
revised upwards from about 7% to almost 10%. Most of this good performance is the
result of agricultural growth and a boom in construction. Adequate and timely rainfall
have resulted in good harvests for food crops. Agricultural output is estimated to have
grown by 34% with an increase in value of some 14%. However, given the largely
subsistence agriculture in our country this does not give rise to monetary exchange and
therefore does not directly boost economic activity in the formal sector
o 11. In the secondary sector, manufacturing industry has shown a modest increase of
5% whilst electricity consumption is higher at 9%. Construction on the other hand is
buoyant with an estimated 15% increase compared to last year. Services have grown at a
similar pace of about 5% witnessed in the manufacturing sector. Inflation remained
modest at around 3.2% as at the end of the first three quarters of this year.
12. On the external front exports have fallen sharply by an estimated 39% as prices for
some commodities, principally coffee, continue to fall on the international market. There
has been some notable but still very modest progress with non traditional exports
including, pyrethrum, hides and skins and flowers. Concurrently, imports have dropped
by some 15% in volume and in value. The good news is that the decline was due
essentially to a reduction in food imports reflecting good local food availability. Imports
of raw materials, equipment and fuel remained stable or showed an increase
13. This years budget execution was made more complex by prolonged negotiations with
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Paris Club. The Government spent the
best part of six months to reach agreement with the IMF on a new three year framework
of economic and financial policies that is supported by that institution and other donor
agencies. Consequently, public expenditure was executed without external budgetary
support until end June. Indeed of the US$ 63 million in external support expected by end
September slightly less than US$ 40 million had been received.
14. I am pleased nonetheless to note the very good performance of domestic revenues.
By end September, tax revenues had reached 72.4 billion francs or 71% of their target for
the whole year. Expenditure was higher than programmed in part as a special effort was
made to pay off more domestic arrears than initially envisaged, as well as costs
associated with our troop withdrawal from the DRC. As a result, the cash deficit
amounted to 4.8 billion francs compared to target and has been financed essentially by
15. Mr Speaker, despite the delayed external disbursements, our external reserves are
comfortable and currently represent slightly over 5 months worth of imports. However
this level is lower than we anticipated and reflects the delay in donor disbursements
experienced this year. This however posed the simultaneous challenge of management of
reserves and a search for exchange rate stability. Credit to the private sector has
increased by 6% during the first nine months but the composition of bank loans remain
heavily in favour of construction and commercial activities which absorb over 70% of
loans, agriculture continues to attract less than 2% of total bank credit.
16. On the local money market, interest rates fell slightly but bank margins remain high
partly as a result of the high incidence of non performing loans in the banking system. The value of the franc has come under pressure as external inflows have been disbursed
with considerable delay. As a result the appreciation of the American dollar is over 6.5%
whilst the euro has appreciated by over 17% over the period to end September 2002 in
relation to the Rwandan Franc.
THE 2003 BUDGET STRATEGY
17. Mr Speaker, before I set out the revenue and expenditure policies for the coming
fiscal year, permit me to outline the overall macroeconomic objectives and principles that
have guided the Governments budget strategy for 2003.
18. Taking into account the encouraging progress in the course of the year 2002 and in
line with our medium term framework of economic and financial policies for the period
2003-2005, we plan for a 9.8% increase in nominal GDP and to contain the increase in
price movements to within 3% whilst rebuilding official reserves from their current level
to about the equivalent of 6.5 months of imports. In line with our policy of fiscal
prudence and realism, we intend to continue to bring down the level of the budget deficit
such that public programmes funded by the Budget can be done so sustainably. In this
context the fiscal deficit will be kept to 9.4% of GDP such that the dependence on foreign
assistance will be progressively reduced. This implies that we must raise domestic
revenues equivalent to 12.9% of GDP and contain expenditure to no more than the
equivalent of 22.3% of GDP. Nonetheless, the search for what is the optimal and yet
sustainable deficit from a fiscal and debt view point is being analysed in the context of
the poverty-focused social impact assessment study (PSIA).
19. Beyond these broad macroeconomic objectives, the policy guidelines call for the
systematic use of the poverty reduction programme as the framework for determining
priorities. Whilst allocations to ensure the smooth functioning of traditional Government
activities have been made, the 2003 Budget lays particular emphasis on significant
increases in health spending, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads and on the
organisation of the Referendum and General elections that are indispensable to bring an
end to the Transition period.
EXPENDITURE POLICY ACTIONS FOR 2003
20. With poverty reduction as its central axis, the following tests are used as criteria to
prioritise public expenditure:
Does the expenditure contribute directly to promote economic growth and reduce
Do the activities reduce future recurrent expenditure?
Target activities not undertaken by private sector?
Do the activities contribute to raising productivity, and/or creating skills and jobs?
What is the impact on debt and fiscal sustainability?
21. Total expenditure and net lending has been projected at Rwf 220.4 billion compared
to a revised budget total of Rwf 192.9 billion. The increase is mainly due to exceptional
programmes mentioned earlier including the constitutional referendum and General
Elections, a boost in health spending, emergency road maintenance works. Special
allocation is also made to enable the restructuring and privatisation of the Banque
Commerciale du Rwanda (BCR) within the overall context of a continued effort to
strengthen the banking system still recovering from the effects of 1994, a rather high
level of non-performing loans and generally problems of capacity. To this extent Mr.
Speaker, I am pleased to announce the inauguration of the School of Banking and
Finance in 2003 thus enabling us to train more bankers and financial experts locally.
22. Mr. Speaker, the recurrent component of budgeted expenditure for 2003 comprising
wages and salaries, goods and services, interest payments, transfers and exceptional
expenditures in an amount of 149.7 billion francs is submitted for approval.
Wages and Salaries
23. The wage bill for civil servants is estimated to rise by 5.3% from a provisional outturn
figure of Rwf 26.2 billion in 2002 to Rwf 27.6 billion in 2003. This allocation in 2003
reflects the statutory increase of 3% and an additional 2.3% for wage drift. Government
nonetheless considers that the 3% increase should not be automatic but should be on
the basis of merit in accordance with civil service regulations.
24. With regard to the defence, the wage bill has been estimated downward from Rwf 16.1
billion in 2002 to Rwf 14.3 billion in 2003 reflecting the full year impact of the
demobilisation of 6,857 RPA soldiers and the reintegration of 2,000 Ex-FAR during 2003.
In general for defence expenditures, the budget maintains the medium term path agreed
with the Bretton Woods Institutions.
25. The total wage bill of Government for 2003 has therefore been projected at Rwf 41.9
billion as against Rwf 41.7 billion in 2002. We do face a dilemma here; on the one hand
the pay in the Civil Service remains unattractive and the search for a living wage has to
continue. On the other hand it would not be sustainable to raise the wage bill beyond its
current level, at least in the short term.
Goods and services
26. It is proposed to increase the allocation for goods and services by 8.4% from RWF
32.3 billion in 2002 to RWF 35 billion in 2003. The portion for civil goods and services is
expected to rise from RWF 24.3 billion to RWF 26.2 billion, mainly due to increased
allocations for priority programmes in education and health and in particular the latter.
27. With regards to the defence goods and services, the proposed allocation of RWF 8.8
billion is 10% higher than the RWF 8 billion spent in 2002. This increase is in line with
Government policy to allocate a portion of the savings resulting from the demobilisation
exercise for goods and services needed for the professionalisation of the defence forces.
The risks and threats to Rwandas security are real. It is not feasible to pursue poverty
reduction efforts in the context of insecurity. To that extent a review of expenditure in
that domain - in the overall context of security sector review is timely.
28. The still young national police has requested for resources to recruit an additional
1000 men and officers but this budget can only provide for half the numbers. But it is
self-evident that this is woefully inadequate and more resources are needed to ensure a
police force able to maintain law and order and security for people and property.
29. An amount of Rwf 8.2 billion is being proposed for interest payments. This is made
up of Rwf 2.1 billion for domestic interest and Rwf 6.1 billion for external interest.
In the case of domestic interest, Rwf 0.3 billion has been allocated to pay interest on the
development bonds issued to some non-bank institutions in 1997, Rwf 0.9 billion to pay
interest on OTRs overdraft facility with BNR and Rwf 1.9 billion to cover interest on
treasury bills (old and new) during 2003.
Transfers (grants in aid to institutions/commissions/individuals)
30. As a direct result of decentralisation, the level of transfers from Ministries to related
agencies and commissions (covering both salaries and running costs) increases from
Rwf 21.1 billion in 2002 to Rwf 23.0 billion in 2003, mainly due to the subsidies equal to Rwf 1.8 billion (1.5% of annual revenue in the preceding year) allocated to running costs
for the Districts in accordance with the law on fiscal decentralization.
Exceptional expenditures (transitional expenditures resulting from 1994 genocide)
31. Expenditures such as the Fund for Survivors of the Genocide, the Rwanda
Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (RDRP), Gacaca, the prison food
programme, etc, are treated as exceptional expenditures resulting from the aftermath of
the 1994 genocide. By keeping these expenditures separate, Government can determine
the normal cost of its operations, on the assumption that some of the exceptional
expenditures will eventually taper off. Mr Speaker, approval is being sought to allocate
an amount of Rwf 30.7 billion for exceptional expenditure in 2003. This amount is about
Rwf 1.9 billion lower than the Rwf 32.8 billion spent in 2002 (including the cost of troop
withdrawal from the DRC).
32. Within the amount of Rwf 30.7 billion, Rwf 5.8 billion represents the transfer to FARG
(5% of domestic revenue of Rwf 116.6 billion), Rwf 13.7 billion is expected to be spent on
demobilisation and reintegration programmes as well as associated costs in 2003, whilst
Rwf 11.2 billion is being allocated to fund the Commissions and Institutions of good
governance and KIST, KIE, and KHI as well as resources needed for a number of social
Other exceptional expenditure
33. An amount of Rwf 10.7 billion is being proposed to fund three other exceptional
expenditures of national importance. The details are as follows:
- Constitutional referendum, General elections: Rwf 6.7 billion
- Special health expenditure: Rwf 3.0 billion
- Emergency road maintenance: Rwf 1.0 billion
Recurrent budget allocations, by Ministry and Province 2001-2005 (Rwf million)
34. Although the three items above can be financed from the current projections of
domestic resources and external budgetary support, increased donor support in the form
of grant financing (to replace loan financing) will continue to be solicited. In agreement
with the IMF for the time being, these items are being treated as one-off expenditures.
However, continued increases in funding to priority sectors will be considered after
completion of the Poverty-focused social impact assessment (PSIA) study, which may
allow for increases in grant funded expenditure provided is available in a sustainable and
predictable manner over a reasonably long horizon.
35. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members of Parliament, I am pleased to submit to the
House for consideration an amount of Rwf 64.9 billion to cover capital expenditure in
2003. At the beginning of this year Government reviewed the implementation capacity of
the foreign financed budget as well as the mode of financing. The result of this review
was used to determine implementation ceilings as well as mode of financing for the 2002-
2004 period. Regarding the mode of financing, it was decided to implement more projects
financed with capital grants so as to reduce the stock of external debt to a level
consistent with the policy to achieve the debt sustainability benchmark as agreed with
the IMF in the medium term. It remains evident, nonetheless, that Rwanda has to invest
more especially in the field of energy, water/sanitation and road transport.
36. In this respect, it is proposed to fix foreign financed capital expenditure at Rwf 54.7
billion compared to a projection of Rwf 49.5 billion in 2002. Capital grants will contribute
Rwf 35.4 billion whilst project loans cover Rwf 19.2 billion.
37. An allocation of Rwf 10.2 billion is being proposed for domestic capital of which Rwf
3 billion represents the Governments counterpart funds to allow implementation of
foreign financed capital projects. An amount of Rwf 4 billion is to be allocated to the
Common Development Fund (CDF). The Government considers the CDF to be the
flagship of its efforts to fight poverty in the districts and will work with all stakeholders
including donors to ensure its success. It is evident that initially absorption capacity
could be a challenge but all efforts will be deployed to address this constraint in the
shortest possible time.
The proposed allocations of the development budget by Ministry are as follows (Table below)
Development Budget allocations, 2003 (Rwf million)
INSTITUTION Dom. Fin %/Dom.Fin %/Tot Ext. Fin. %/Ext. Fin %/Tot Total %/Tot
MINECOFIN 626,26 6,14 0,96 10 292,93 18,82 15,86 10 919,19 16,82
MINERENA 1 675,79 16,43 2,58 6 901,84 12,62 10,63 8 577,63 13,22
MINEDUC 574,59 5,63 0,89 6 976,43 12,75 10,75 7 551,02 11,63
MINAGRI 791,38 7,76 1,22 6 631,90 12,12 10,22 7 423,28 11,44
MINALOC 4 239,00 41,56 6,53 3 135,81 5,73 4,83 7 374,81 11,36
MINITRACO 781,85 7,67 1,20 6 302,56 11,52 9,71 7 084,41 10,92
MINIJUST - - - 2 623,48 4,80 4,04 2 623,48 4,04
MIGEPROFE 192,00 1,88 0,30 2 343,07 4,28 3,61 2 535,07 3,91
MINISANTE 127,40 1,25 0,20 2 285,26 4,18 3,52 2 412,66 3,72
ANT - - - 1 800,00 3,29 2,77 1 800,00 2,77
PRESIREP - - - 1 294,63 2,37 1,99 1 294,63 1,99
MINITERE 22,00 0,22 0,03 1 238,64 2,26 1,91 1 260,64 1,94
MININTER 467,93 4,59 0,72 531,60 0,97 0,82 999,53 1,54
MIJESPOC 60,14 0,59 0,09 901,10 1,65 1,39 961,24 1,48
MIFOTRA - - - 758,00 1,39 1,17 758,00 1,17
MINADEF 515,64 5,06 0,79 - - - 515,64 0,79
MINICOM 108,00 1,06 0,17 362,58 0,66 0,56 470,58 0,73
SUP COURT - - - 320,19 0,59 0,49 320,19 0,49
MINAFFET 18,00 0,18 0,03 - - - 18,00 0,03
TOTAL 10 199,98 100,00 15,72 54 700,02 100,00 84,28 64 900,00 100,00
Dom. Fin = Domestic financing; Ext. Fin. = External Financing
38. For the time being, Multisector programmes which cut across different Ministries are
included under the allocation of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. These
include: Umutara Community Resources and Infrastructure Development Project;
Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project; and the Multi-sector Capacity
Building Programme, which alone consume Rwf 6.6 billion of the total for 2003. It is
expected, that in due course, they could be transferred to other Ministries or even to the
Provinces. The aim is that as many programmes as possible should be located and
executed at decentralised levels.
39. Emphasis is put on the Infrastructure, Education, Agriculture and Local Government
Ministries which are allocated Rwf 38.01 billion, or 58.57% of the 2003 development
budget, a proportion justified by their significant direct impact on poverty reduction.
40. Mr Speaker, in line with the National Investment Strategy, over the period 2002-2007,
Government aims to boost investment in agriculture, infrastructure and human resource
development. The Government is allocating resources to ensure that technical studies
essential for infrastructure programmes are in place to ensure a considerable increase in
this sector that was previously under-funded in relation to needs. For 2003, the Common
Development Fund, agriculture, education, transport and land sectors receive major
shares of the development budget allocations in line with the poverty reduction strategy.
Distribution of the Development Budget, 2003 by sector
Net lending and the restructuring of the BCR
41. An allocation of Rwf 6 billion is being proposed under net lending. Rwf 1 billion is
expected to be paid to Rwandatel, whilst Rwf 5 billion represents Governments
contribution to the cost associated with the restructuring of BCR prior to its privatisation
during the course of 2003. Government will ensure a well prepared restructuring
programme that maintains public confidence in the bank and in the financial system in
general. To minimize the liquidity impact, only Rwf 1 billion is to be paid in cash with the
issuance of long-term Government bonds for Rwf 4 billion.
42. In line with Government policy to gradually settle all legitimate and certified domestic
arrears, an amount of Rwf 9 billion is being proposed to be allocated as cash for part
payment of domestic arrears in 2003. Arrears to be paid include pre-1994 arrears that
have been certified by the Auditor General as well as arrears from 2002 Government
operations. Nonetheless, due to recurring, previously unsubmitted claims, Government
proposes to place a closure as from June 2003. All claims on Government must be lodged
and verified by that date. Any claims after that date will be disregarded. Consequently,
all claimants are urged to respect that date to ensure timely verification by the Auditor
43. An allocation of Rwf 20.7 billion is being proposed to cover principal payments to
both external and domestic creditors. Whilst Rwf 14.4 billion will be used to cover
external debt payments, an amount of Rwf 6.3 billion has been allocated to repay various
bonds issued to bank and non-bank creditors(Rwf 3.1 billion) , Rwf 2 billion to OCIR Thé
and Rwf 1.2 billion to the social security fund (CSR). In the course of 2003, Government
will carry out a comprehensive review of internal debt management and restructuring
taking into account the debt to the CSR and other institutionals.
EXPENDITURE POLICY ACTIONS FOR 2003
44. Mr. Speaker, I pointed out at the beginning of my statement that our revenue policy
for 2003 is guided by the need to secure stable public finances but in the context of the
stability and predictability of the taxation system, continued improvements in the
administration of tax collection and incentives provided for business and enterprise
especially small businesses. For these reasons, the following proposals are made.
45. Corporate tax will be reduced from 40% to 35%. Whilst this move is projected to cost
the Treasury about 1 billion francs in a full year, it is expected to boost activity and
COMESA FTA Implementation
46. The Government proposes a 90% reduction on import duties levied on Comesa
imports in line with our commitments to the Comesa Free trade Area. The potential loss
in revenue is estimated at 200 million francs. We shall however strictly apply the criteria and rules of origin and reciprocate as the case may be.
47. In response to petitions from local industry for a level playing field within Comesa,
goods used as inputs by our industries will be zero rated or taxed at 5%.
48. For the same reasons a 25% surcharge will be levied on imported sugar, and 20% on
49. With a view to encouraging importation of fuel saving vehicles, new excises on
imported petrol consuming vehicles will be introduced from 5% to 15 yielding 600 million
francs. Diesel consuming vehicles will be exempted.
50. The Rwandan Bureau of Standards has been instructed to look into the problem of
plastic bags and indicate the categories that should be banned and those that should be
subject to excises in the interest of protecting our environment.
51. The excise on beer will be restored to its previous level of 57% as the reduction to
40% last year did not lead to an increase in consumption and instead resulted in a
significant shortfall in revenue.
52. The Government proposes a more transparent and equitable implementation of the
law on income tax (Pay As You Earn PAYE) which consolidates all incomes and
allowances for tax purposes. This will be done in a manner that protects the lowest paid
workers as well as for lowly paid civil servant to ensure maintenance of their take home
53. During the course of fiscal 2003, the Government plans to put into effect a
transparent process for tax disputes in accordance with the existing laws to handle the
ever increasing number of such cases and advise the Minister accordingly.
54. Mr. Speaker, Fiscal year 2003 will be a watershed for Rwanda in more ways than one
social, political, economic and in terms of continued search for regional security and
stability. Despite a very difficult international environment, Rwanda has managed to
achieve a growth rate of almost 10% under relatively stable macroeconomic
conditions. For the last four years, GDP growth has outstripped population growth. As
commendable as this may be, per capita incomes are still low at US$ 290 and the number
of people living below the poverty line, though falling, is not coming down fast enough.
55. The continued fall in already low coffee prices on the international markets illustrates
our continued vulnerability to external shocks and obviates the need not only to boost
export earnings but also the urgency for Rwanda to diversify the base of its exports.
56. 2003 is the first year of the Poverty Reduction Plan implementation. Amongst the
many competing priorities, the significant increase in health expenditure as well as road
maintenance and rehabilitation, both identified in the PRSP as priorities and both
previously under-funded, is a clear indication of the Governments determination to make
this plan the anchor of its financial and economic policies. But is also comes at a time
when there are a number of one off and time-bound programmes to bring the transition
period to an end and which require significant resources. i.e. referendum and general
57. It is in this challenging environment for 2003 that the Government will seek to
maintain within the context of macroeconomic stability, economic growth, social
progress, security and poverty reduction.
58. This Budget provides for some of the means and measures needed to attain the
above objectives and I commend it to the House for adoption.