Every government strives for efficiency, accountability, and transparency when allocating public resources. Effective budgeting today contributes massively to the socio-economic well-being, inclusive growth, transformation of societies and supports trust placed in governments by citizens all around the world. As a result, the notion of linking budget allocations and to expected outcomes in the annual budget process has immensely gained momentum among countries both developing and advanced.
Performance-Based Budgeting (PBB) has been seen as the best mechanism to provide this evidence-based decision making however despite attracting global interest, experience from first reforming countries have proved that PBB reform results could be very disappointing if key critical prerequisites and country contexts are not in place or considered.
This study therefore aimed at assessing Rwanda’s preparedness to implement the PBB reform by identifying the success and failure of the reform in Rwanda. The study used a qualitative approach, collecting data from both primary and secondary sources. By using a survey questionnaire, primary data was collected from a sample of government agencies that have been implementing PBB since it started in FY2018/19. The first section of the questionnaire covered the basic information about the respondents to ensure that responses are collected from only the targeted respondents while section two investigated whether PBB implementing agencies clearly understood why the reform was undertaken by the government and if they understood the expected outcomes if successfully implemented. Section three aimed to find out the potential strengths and weaknesses that agencies might have encountered while implementing PBB by going through the seven steps of Rwanda’s specific approach while the last section sought to collect recommendations from agencies on what could be improved or done going forward to make the reform easy to implement and successful.
The researcher adopted purposive sampling technique to determine which government agencies to collect primary data from because that it provides the most effective way of getting respondents who have knowledge and experience on the subject matter. As a result, respondents (Planning and budget Officer/specialist) from five big ministries and their affiliated agencies implementing PBB since it started were selected making a total of 15 budget agencies.
Consequently, the study established that Rwanda has set firm grounds for the success of PBB through prior reforms like setting up the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) which comprehensively incorporates all performance information, an already deeply rooted culture of accountability, an already active current planning framework that uses performance information and an experience of implementing Program-based budgeting which is a requirement for implementing PBB.
The study however highlighted weaknesses that should be addressed going forward. These are information overload, capacity constraints, lack of accurate data to formulate performance information, very lengthy and complicated procedures of conducting Rwanda’s approach.
The study made five recommendations to the government of Rwanda for the success of PBB reform. These are conducting regular refresher training programs to budget agencies, rigorously reducing information overload, streamlining the program structure, and strengthening the consistency of outcomes, creating a data bank for performance-based budgeting and developing incentives to motivate budget agencies to implement the reform.
Key Words: Performance Budgeting, Rwanda