November 13, 2019

IMF Calls For “Better Tracking” Of Government Projects As Billions Go To Waste

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A large market complex was built by Rubavu district several years ago. It remains a ghost construction site

A report by the Auditor General submitted to Parliament in April 2018 showed that government spent over Rwf 270billion on projects and assets that lay idle and abandoned.

The project cited include government-constructed factories, rural road projects, as well as educational and business complexes. Some assets were put in place but were abandoned because that particular structure is no longer relevant.

The University of Rwanda was cited as the institution with major idle infrastructure and abandoned buildings. As a single example, an ICT center that was built in partnership with the Korean Development Agency-Koica is not serving its purpose, said the Auditor General Obadiah Biraro.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) team indicated Wednesday 13 November that it had highlighted the issue of these projects in meetings with ministers. The team, in the country since October 31, issued its assessment of the country’s general performance today afternoon.

“Better tracking of public sector assets and liabilities and associated risks should provide more space for priority spending,” said Laure Redifer, the team leader in a statement.

ALSO READ: Over 5,000 Bags of Cement Kept In Rubavu District Store Despite Homelessness

Parts of the same statement were read at a press conference with Finance Minister Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana.

Finance and Economic Planning Minister Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana in final farewell meeting today with the IMF team

The government and the IMF said they had agreed on a ‘Policy Coordination Program’ approved in June by the IMF Board.

This is a mechanism in which government opens all its books and plans to IMF scrutiny in exchange for the much-needed technical support on how best to maximize the benefits.

The IMF team noted that spending wisely on crucial projects coupled with ongoing reforms to maximize the collection of domestic revenues will avail resources for the government’s ambitious development agenda.

Meanwhile, the Fund also revised forecasts for economic growth projections for 2019 from 7.8% to 8.5 percent – noting that the team had seen clear signs of a relatively vibrant economy.

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