The sanitation success story? Examining sanitation funding in Rwanda

Rwanda is often hailed as a success story in improving access to clean water and sanitation and with good reason! According to the official government of Rwanda statistics, the MDG target of 62% access to sanitation by 2015 has already been well surpassed with 74.5% access to basic sanitation achieved in 2011/12. This differs slightly from the JMP statistics which cites access at only 61% in 2011, yet even working on these more conservative statistics Rwanda is making excellent progress, is well ahead of many of its neighbours and on track to surpass its MDG target. Based on its admirable rate of progress the Rwandan government has gone one step further than this by setting its own targets as part of the ‘Rwanda Vision 2020’ initiative to achieve universal access to sanitation and clean water by the year 2020, a goal also reflected in Rwanda’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II), and which according to official government reports is currently on track to achieve early by 2017, which would truly be a huge success!

So what is Rwanda spending in order to achieve such great progress in improving access to sanitation? When first visiting the Government of Rwanda website, finding the correct ministry responsible for sanitation was relatively easy. Water Supply and Sanitation falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), the website for which a handy link is provided. However, once on the MINIFRA website the ease of information seems to seize up and things get a bit confusing.My first surprise was the ‘introduction’ to water and sanitation, citing access to sanitation which meets ‘suitable hygienic standards’ at 38%, far lower than other recent statistics and seemingly very outdated.Further exploration of the site in search of budget and expenditure for sanitation reveals little, with the most up to date budget information and action plan both from 2009/10 and significantly lacking in detail. The pages for the Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) responsible for sanitation within the MINIFRA, is no more up to date, with the most recent annual report available from 2008.

I instead turn my attention to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN), with much more success. According to the revised budget 2013/15, the budget for improving access to drinking water and sanitation is as follows:

2012/2013 (Revised) – RwF18 599 878 656 (reflecting 1.2% of total RwF1 549 859 475 474)

2013/2014 – RwF 31 437 086 890 (reflecting 2.07% of total RwF1 515 756 239 890)

2014/2015 – RwF 22 550 601 812 (of total 1 475 794 877 228)

The clarity of this impresses me, however there seems to be no breakdown of this reflecting a sanitation specific budget line, a problem echoed in all further annexes of the 2012/13 budget, which although carefully broken down on a project by project basis, place water and sanitation together throughout, making it seemingly impossible to distinguish how much of the budget is being allocated to sanitation alone.

The annexII-1 of the approved budget for 2013/14 however reveals evidence of a sanitation specific budget line! According to which RwF 160, 000, 000 of total RwF1 653 467 462 173 budget is being allocated specifically to improving access to sanitation.However, the Monitoring & Evaluationbudget is still lumped together for sanitation and water making it hard to get an accurate picture of the overall amount being allocated to sanitation alone, particularly when it seems that all other ‘water and sanitation’ budget lines are being allocated solely to ‘water infrastructure’ and that the separate water and sanitation budget sections in the official annexes all seem to only add up to RwF 23,771,599,854 for 2013/14, well under what was set in the previous budget.

Also available on the MINECOFIN website is the2013-2014 citizens budget guide which aims to make information on budget spending more accessible and understandable for Rwandan citizens, a great step forward for budget transparency. The guide states that for 2013/14 the government has allocated 28.4billion RwF to water and sanitation of an overall Rwf 1,653.5 trillion for 2013/14 (1.7% of the overall budget), compared to 27.1 billion RwFof 1,549.8 trillion (revised) budget in 2012/2013(1.75% of the overall budget). However, these numbers again differ from those set out in the revised budget and the current year’s budget annexes and further discrepancies are found when comparing these figures to thetarget of 4.3% of the overall budget to be spent on water and sanitation for 2012 in EDPRS I.

Rwanda does appear to be spending a reasonable amount of its budget on improving access to sanitation and water and is indeed making significant and admirable progress towards achieving universal access as a result. However, the discrepancies reflected when comparing the details in the citizens budget guide and those found in more detailed annexes of the official budgetsfor 2012/13 and 2013/14 raise concerns over the accuracy of reporting on sanitation spending. Although the existence of a citizens budget guide is in itself great for budget transparency, for both 2012/13 and 2013/14 the citizens guide seems to reflect a far higher spend on water and sanitation than in the official budget annexes for the same years, and yet seems to reflect a decreasing percentage of the overall budget being spent on sanitation and water in contrast to the increase reflected in other budget documents.

These discrepancies, coupled with the lack of clarity of a separate overarching budget line for sanitation makes monitoring sanitation spending in Rwanda difficult even for those with the time to spend looking at reports in detail. Mismatches in budget reporting ought therefore to be rectified and a separate overarching budget line for sanitation clearly distinguished in order to ensure sanitation spending can be monitored effectively and that Rwanda stays on track to achieving universal access to sanitation and water by 2020.

– Natasha


Sanitation spending in Tanzania

Tanzania, like a number of countries in Africa, is off-track for meeting their MDG targets for sanitation. The 2013 Joint Monitoring Programme Report has estimated that only 12% of the population has access to improved sanitation in 2011, far off from the 53% target set for 2015. The percentage of the 2010 population that has gained access to improved sanitation since 1990 is significantly less, at 5%, than the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 12%. It is clear that something needs to be done to speed up process with one key element of increasing access to sanitation being adequate financing.

Finding up-to-date budget documents in Tanzania is refreshingly simple. All one has to do is go to the website for the Parliament of United Republic of Tanzania, go to the budget tab and then:

  1. Budget Speeches
  2. Ministerial Budgets
  3. Regional Budgets (link appears broken)
  4. Budget Speeches Archive

When I arrived on the Ministerial Budget page, I had to figure out which minister was responsible for sanitation. My initial enthusiasm at the ease of finding budgets quickly dwindled as I released that one issue with sanitation in Tanzania is that “responsibility for sanitation lies with the MoHSW (MInistry of Health and Social Welfare) but donor finance is often provided alongside funds for water supply through the MoWI (Ministry of Water and Irrigation)”. As with so many other countries, the sanitation sector is complicated because it falls under the jurisdiction of so many different Ministries. Sanitation is simultaneously everyone’s and no one’s problem. However, this is only really an issue if budget lines are unclear, as long as there are budget lines for sanitation within the different ministries then there is not problem.

WASHwatch scores Tanzania with a 1 for having a budget line for sanitation and hygiene through the Ministry of Social Welfare. This is based on feedback from Government and CSO representatives as part of the Africasan preparatory process attesting to the allocation of sanitation financing in a specific budget line. However, looking at the budgets for the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, neither appears to have a budget line for sanitation. The lack of clarity over a separate budget line for sanitation is reinforced by WaterAid and WSP, with Wateraid highlighting that there is “still no specific line at either central or local government level”, begging the question of the extent to which funding is being specifically directed at sanitation within the appropriate budgets.

A closer look at budget allocation continues to paint a worrying picture. The website for the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has an Environmental Health and Sanitation section, which explains that hygiene and sanitation fall under the responsibility of the preventive services division and that division reported actual expenditure of 21,759,558,771 TZs in 2010/11, approved expenditure of  23,180,715,300 TZs for 2011/12 and estimated expenditure of  17,356,672,000 TZs in 2012/13. No more detail was given but this is worrying in and of itself because 23 billion TZs (the 2011/12 approved spending) is the apparently the budget for the entire division and is only .06% of GDP. The Environmental Health and Sanitation section provides limited information about the National Sanitation and Hygiene Campaign but the page links are no longer functioning.

A WSP study reported that in 2010 budget allocation for sanitation was as follows:

  • $4.3 million USD – national level annual budget allocation for sanitation
  • $32,000 per district – district level annual sanitation budget
  • $83,000 per district –  Total Sanitation and Sanitation Marketing (TSSM) – donor funded

This gives a grand total of .099% of GDP, still significantly shy of the 0.5% of GDP target and that figure includes a significant amount of donor funding. Other reports from Wateraid and WSP confirm that Tanzania is currently spending less than 0.1% of GDP on sanitation. This is also in line with the current WASHwatch score of zero for sanitation financing in Tanzania.

Based on the above it seems evident that more needs to be done by the Government of Tanzania to increase sanitation spending to meet the 0.5% of GDP. This is arguably more likely to be achieved through a clearly defined budget line for sanitation spending, which if already in existence needs to be clear and monitorable in ministry budgets, with accessible data on allocation and spending.

– Natasha & Katelyn