The government has set up a team to carry out reform of the decentralised administration entities following reported inefficiencies.
Analysis has showed that only Sectors and Districts entities enjoy monopoly of devolved powers and resources at the expense of the understaffed Cells that are closer to the citizens.
This has been blamed for poor service delivery to local and public participation in planning and implementation of key government programmes.
The reorganisation of local government will help to facilitate service delivery at the Cells, including budget allocation to carry out projects.
“The objective is to empower the Cell entities to make them the epicenter of service delivery as per the national strategy for transformation, and this is being done with urgency. The consultations are underway with team assessing reforms that need to be done vis-à-vis the legal and budgetary implications,” said Bob Gakire, Ag director of territorial administration and good governance at the Ministry of Local Government.
The officials did not agree to discuss some of the proposed reforms as most are subject to changes, but input by some stakeholders suggest that there is a need for all the services offered at Sectors and Districts to be devolved to Cells if the country is to achieve citizen-centered local governance.
This has seen the team weighing the possible review of the current governance structures of the Districts and Sectors to empower the Cells.
Under the current structure, a Cell is only served by two staff and gets no specific budget allocation while a District counts an average of 85 employees, while Sectors have at least 15 personnel each.
This forces citizens to travel long distances to seek government services at Sectors and Districts. The fresh reforms are likely to lead to reduction in the number of Cells and Sectors to improve efficiency.
The country has more than 416 Sectors with 2148 Cells across 30 Districts.
Districts were reduced from 106, while Sectors and Cells numbered 1,500 and 9,000 respectively during a 2005 decentralization reforms.
“We are not sure yet what the reforms will look like and whether the number of Cells will be reduced. We submitted a proposal based on a carried out inventory of services citizens need at the Cell for decentralization to be effective. It’s the government to assess what that will take to happen,” said Ladislas Ngendahimana, Secretary General at Rwanda Association of local government authorities (RALGA).