Rwanda’s districts show unprecedented improvement in public fund management for 2023

On 27 May 2024 at 07:47

In an effort to ensure proper management of public funds, the Rwandan government has implemented various measures, including appointing qualified financial managers across all sectors and providing them with ongoing training. The country does not rely solely on their qualifications but also closely monitors their performance through financial audits.

The Auditor General conducts annual audits of all institutions that use public funds to ensure they are used efficiently.

The findings are compiled into a report highlighting any misuse or mismanagement of state resources. This report is then presented to Parliament, which takes further action. For instance, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) summons the institutions identified for poor management to publicly explain the discrepancies.

One might wonder, "What happens next?" The answer lies in the vigilance of other government institutions that oversee the use of public funds.

The Auditor General scrutinizes all institutions associated with public fund usage, focusing on three main areas: accounting records, adherence to laws and regulations, and value for money [ensuring that expenditures match the financial outlay].

Historically, local government entities, particularly districts, have frequently been cited for financial mismanagement. However, the 2023 Auditor General’s report indicates significant progress in rectifying these issues.

According to the report, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, the districts and Kigali City were allocated Rwf1,127 billion. The Auditor General examined how these funds were utilized and whether the accounting records accurately reflected their use.

The 2023 report shows that 25 out of 27 districts and Kigali City, representing 92.5%, had no significant issues in their accounting records, a notable improvement from previous years. In 2022, only 12 districts were found to be without issues, while in 2021, none met this standard.

Beyond accounting, significant strides were also made in other areas. For instance, in the 2022/2023 fiscal year, six districts were found to be compliant with fund management standards, up from zero in 2021.

Minister of Local Government, Jean Claude Musabyimana, attributed this progress to various initiatives, including peer learning programs, collaborative efforts among financial oversight personnel, timely provision of necessary documentation to auditors, advisory support, and capacity building.

"As the Ministry of Local Government, we commend everyone involved, including districts and partners, for their role in achieving this milestone. Our government remains committed to accountability as a path to development," he said.

Improvements were also noted in the implementation of the Auditor General’s recommendations, with an average implementation rate of 67% in 2023, up from 65% in 2022 and 56.5% in 2021.

Nyaruguru District led with an 84% implementation rate, while Ngoma was the lowest at 46%.
Additionally, there was a reduction in the number of districts summoned by the PAC, with only six districts appearing in 2023 compared to previous years. These districts were Burera, Nyagatare, Rulindo, Muhanga, Ngoma, and Rubavu.

Muhanga was among districts summoned by PAC last year.