The Rwanda Parliament has approved a $15million funding agreement from the International Development Agency (IDA) that will enable the country to remain resilient against the COVID19 pandemic.
The funding bill tabled by State Minister of Finance, Dr. Claudine Uwera was approved this Monday October 25, 2021 as part of the second phase funding commitment of $30million from the agency, also adding to another $45million from the World Bank in the same respect.
“The funding will be used in conducting Covid19 tests and patient tracing, monitoring samples which will help in finding and managing new covid cases, it will also help treatment especially in intensive care and acquisition of required vaccination equipment,” Uwera said.
The funding, she said, will also contain a third component of monitoring and evaluation and support key health services but also support in offering free vaccines to reach the 60% vaccination target by 2022.
“This will boost government efforts in improving health services, to purchase more vaccines and in tackling the pandemic,” Uwera said.
The funding comes at a time when Rwanda is laying plans to start producing vaccines including COVID vaccines among four other countries selected in Africa, of which the minister said that discussions are still underway.
MPs questioned the reasoning behind the funding agreement specifically wanting to know if the country needs to borrow money and if so, how will it be used considering the performance of the previous funds.
“Why are we seeking more funds. Is it because there are more cases of Covid or it was poor planning. We would also like to know the percentage in implementation and how far with the vaccine plant,” MP Phoebe Kanyange asked.
MP Suzanne Mukayijore insisted the ministry should show the numbers behind the previous funds such as the number of beneficiaries and how the funding was used in the first case and current strategies in fund use.
MP Beniot Senani inquired if this added funding will have an aspect of dealing with effects of the pandemic especially in social and business areas.
Minister Uwera responded saying it was not poor planning but to help Rwanda reach a 60% target which had been set for 2022 considering the fact that the country has already surpassed the 10% target set for November 2021.
“We have reached somewhere impressive in vaccination but there is a target that we have to reach. So far we are at 23% of the total population have two doses, 47% one dose and in Kigali alone has the highest at 91% with both doses of vaccines,” Uwera said.
With the revised global target to have 70% country populations vaccinated, the minister revealed that Rwanda also plans on revising its 60% target especially with the vaccines going to be produced locally and to benefit the region not only Rwanda.
“With this financing and other efforts internally we will be able to reach this new target,” the minister assured parliament seeking an immediate approval of the financing agreement.
She also assured parliament on the component of monitoring the funding saying it is part of component as usual.
On the question as to whether such funding will support other recovery programs on a wide scale especially that the pandemic bruised many other sectors and areas of life, Uwera said they too will be covered however Rwanda plans on getting more funding in future that will be focused on the recovery.
Currently the country has set a recovery fund from an initial $100million to $300million, that is crosscutting in supporting affected sectors such as education, tourism and industry among others.