Rwanda Governance

Just after the genocide and civil war, the new leadership turned to the administrative institutions inherited from the previous regime and that then functioned for several more years. The creation of the new institutions that began in 1998, sought to do away with the past. In the executive branch, the taxing and fee-collecting departments were too dependent on the Ministry of Finance. Decision-makers sought to introduce more checks and balances within the executive branch by making its economic governance institutions stronger and more autonomous.

The first economic governance institution to be created was the National Tender Board in November 1997 to counter the numerous cases of abuse in awarding public tenders. After functioning for several years, the centralization of the process of awarding important public contracts in this single institution created a bottleneck and caused many delays in the administration’s operations. In February 2008 the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) replaced the National Tender Board. The RPPA decentralized the process for awarding public contracts and created an independent entity for appealing its decisions. The RPPA was adapted according to the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action. This permits donors to support the Rwandan system for awarding public contracts, which in turn facilitates the granting of aid in the form of direct budget support.

Rwanda Governance
Rwanda Governance

The Rwanda Revenue Authority was created in November 1997 to reinforce the collection of taxes and fees; it also had an anti-corruption unit. In June 1998, the Bureau of the Auditor General was created to audit ministries and companies owned by the state. In April 2011, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee was established partly in order to remedy the lack of follow up on the auditor general’s reports to parliament. This committee held public hearings with political and administrative heads of government institutions and exerted pressure on the executive and judiciary to take more vigorous action in cases of mismanagement of public funds.

In 2004, the Office of the Ombudsman was created to combat corruption and injustice. This office collects annual declarations of the patrimony of senior government officials and monitors the application of the law covering the code of conduct of the heads of public institutions. It serves as a recourse for citizens against acts carried out by the administration that are considered as unjust. The Office of the Ombudsman also has a specialized anticorruption unit.

In May 2001, the National Examinations Council was created for the management of the exam system in public and private primary and secondary schools that follow the national program. The increased fairness in the conduct of exams had widespread social repercussions because of the arbitrariness that had existed in this domain during the Habyarimana regime.

In January 2009, a Gender Observatory was established and charged with promoting the processing of disaggregated gender data.

These institutions were established to ensure equity in the provision of public services, and proved to be efficient; however, they are not exempt from a certain level of influence-peddling.

In addition to these institutions an important law, the Organic Law on State Finances and Property was adopted in September 2006. This determines the powers, roles, and responsibilities of participants in the system for managing public finances and expenditures by more clearly separating the prerogatives of the executive branch from those of the legislative branch. In 2007, the government began a public expenditure and financial assessment. This exercise examined the process of authorizing and justifying expenditures, collecting revenue, awarding contracts, and managing government property. As a result of this review, the government initiated a reform of its public financial management system and introduced many adjustments to the major institutions responsible for managing public affairs. Among the most critical improvements was the development of an Integrated Financial Information System (IFMIS) which automated planning, budgeting, accounting and financial reporting processes.

The efficiency of governance institutions

The governance institutions that were created proved to be efficient. The Control of Corruption Index, which has the oldest data for Rwanda on corruption, shows the country’s progress on the matter (see Table 1). In 1996 Rwanda was at the very bottom of the scale in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, and Sierra Leone, but then rose from a percentile rank of 26.88 in that year to a percentile rank of 70.67 in 2018. The Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, the data for which Rwanda began in 2006, confirms this evolution, and Rwanda rose from being ranked 121st in the world in 2006, to being ranked 48th in 2017, representing the 4th best performance in Africa that year. Country Overview Source

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