On Friday, 20th December 2019, Civil Society Organisations, NGO’s and government representatives met in a one-day roundtable discussion on the national budget with focus on food and nutrition security.
Organised by Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO) under the Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) project funded by the SNV, the discussions were guided by expert analysis on the Rwandan government spending’s and allocations on food and nutrition.
During the discussions, RDO presented two report findings on budget analysis tracking food security and nutrition from previous budget allocations in 2017/18 and 2018/2019. And budget allocations from central government to districts vis-à-vis population levels.
Eugene Rwibasira, the Executive Secretary of RDO revealed that the study analysis were commissioned to adequately generate some advises on proper allocation and spending in line with the country commitments and agreements that the government of Rwanda is committed too or has ratified globally.
The findings shade some light on the current status of food security and nutrition allocation and expenditures trend in various budget agencies at both central and decentralized level, and its alignment with the national strategy for transformation (NST1) and the Sustainable Development Goals SDG (UN agenda 2030).
The presentations created a debate among discussants who advised on revision of budget allocation formula as a way of improving and effectively tackle stunting and malnutrition issues.
Different discussants observed that the budget allocation formula should be needs based because different sectors or districts have differing problems and challenges thus everyone should not be allocated the same resources at the same time but according to their needs.
“Such assessments are eye opener to government to improve budget allocations,” said Justin Gatsinzi, the head of social protection at Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA).
Gatsinzi said that proper budget allocation is very critical if the country is to improve food security and nutrition. He also called for a comprehensive study like those commissioned by RDO to draw concrete advise to policy makers.
The Executive Secretary of RDO noted that although there have been efforts to increase budget, poverty levels still gone up in some districts. He wondered about the increasing poverty levels, which is one of the factors that cause child stunting and malnutrition.
The meeting also heard calls for government to increase budget allocation to food and nutrition as well as meet signed agreements and commitments Rwanda has made.
Previous domestic government financing towards nutrition was 3.6 per cent in 2017/18, 3.8 per cent in 2018/2019 and the current fiscal year 2019/2020 stands at 4.2 per cent of the national budget.