Rwanda Bugesera District 2017
1.1 This introduction briefly explains why the Government of Rwanda is undertaking this assessment, defines the scope of the assessment, describes the assessment and reporting process, outlines the role of donor sponsors and government partners, and explains its methodology, sources of information, and reliance placed on them. The report was commissioned by GoR, and funded from a MDTF under the control of GoR.
1.2 This assessment is a repeat assessment for Bugesera district. The district participated in the 2010 joint assessment of the Government of Rwanda (GoR) and four of its districts, but not in the earlier 2007 assessment. This assessment is sequel to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in June 2014 by the GoR and its contributing development partners in support to the implementation of the PFM SSP 2013-2018. The context is as follows.
1.3 Public financial management reforms aimed at modernizing and strengthening institutions for accountability have been part of Rwanda’s socio-economic reforms that have yielded remarkable results in GDP growth, poverty reduction, the MDGs, etc. Decentralization of political, administrative, and service delivery powers has also been an integral part of these reforms pursued since the early 2000s. The GoR has already implemented and assessed the performance of the Public Financial Management Reform Strategy (PFMRS) 2008 – 2012. Subsequently, the GoR has “developed a 5-year PFM Sector Strategic Plan (PFM SSP) and its accompanying Sector Implementation Plan (SIP) in consultation with relevant stakeholders including Development Partners”.1 The primary objective of the plan is “ensuring efficient, effective and accountable use of public resources as a basis for economic development and poverty eradication through improved service delivery.”2 The GoR and its development partners agreed to carry out a “Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) … in the fourth quarter of 2014/15 … that … will serve as a basis for dialogue on Public Financial Management agenda”.3
1.4 The Government of Rwanda consequently commissioned concomitant assessments of the central government (CG) and local government (LG). The LG assessment involved a sample of eight districts, out of 30, selected to encompass the four provinces and the City of Kigali, and to include at least, one urban district. The selection also includes the four districts that participated in the earlier 2010 assessment, to track performance.
1.5 This LG assessment applied extant PEFA guidelines. These are the 2011 revised edition of the Public Financial Management Performance Measurement Framework, the Supplementary Guidelines for the Application of the PEFA Framework to Subnational Governments published by the PEFA Secretariat in January 2013, and Good Practice when Undertaking a Repeat Assessment: Guidance for Assessment Planners and Assessors issued in 2010.
1.6 The assessment commenced at the end of the first week of June 2015 with review of documents provided by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and a week of series of preliminary meetings at key organs of the Government of Rwanda jointly attended by the CG and LG teams. These organs include the Offices of the Accountant General, Chief Internal Auditor, IFMIS Coordinator, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Auditor General, Rwanda Public Procurement Authority. Chief Economist, National Development Planning & Research, Ministry of Labour & Employment, DG Budget, Treasury, Ministry of Local Government, and Fiscal Decentralization Unit. The preliminary activities also included a one-day joint inception and training workshop for CG and districts’ officials on the PEFA methodology.
1.7 The field visits involved, at least, a two-day mission to each of the eight districts. The missions followed the same format, i.e., interactive sessions with the district management led by the executive secretary and including heads and representatives of departments responsible for finance, administration, human resource management, public procurement, internal audit, liaison with the district council, etc. (the full list of participants is in the appendix). The pattern followed was to go through the Fieldguide and require the district to answer the key questions and provide document evidence supporting their positions. The exercises covered all applicable 29 indicators, i.e., including HLG-1, but excluding the donor indicators.
1.8 The assessors next prepared and sent the draft assessment report to the GoR for review. The GoR also exposed the report to developments partners for review. The assessors evaluated and reflected the comments received, as appropriate and returned this to the Ministry of Finance & Economic planning that is coordinating the exercise. The comments received and the response of the assessors are as in the appendix.
1.9 The assessment covered the entire PFM system of the district, i.e., the district’s central administration, sectors, cells, and villages, but excluding subsidiary entities, except to the extent that the district makes allocations to them. Subsidiary entities are non-budget agencies (NBAs) supervised by districts. NBAs submit monthly financial reports to the district, which the district summarizes and includes as annex in its monthly financial reports to the Ministry of Finance & Economic P1.10 Finally, the assessment faced very difficult challenges, the most important of which is the gross under-resourcing for the task. Two days per district was not nearly adequate for the required full application of the PEFA framework. Sessions often lasted into the night or extended to a third day (in Kigali). The consultancy days allowed was the same as usually for a single PEFA assessment, though the requirement was for nine reports – one per district plus a consolidated report. Notwithstanding this, the GoR comments on the draft demanded full PEFA reports for each district, i.e., with all the preliminary sections, in disregard of the ToR that clearly provides for “a (i.e. one) full LG PEFA report - including annexes for the review of 8 districts ….” This demand put further pressure on the already inadequate resourcing. Finally, the reviewers’ comments showed their unfamiliarity with the PEFA methodology. Many comments were emotive and out of context.