8 December 2012

Rwanda: Kagame Calls Private Sector to Intensify Efforts

President Paul Kagame has thanked Rwanda's private sector actors for their involvement socio-economic transformation, yet he requested them to step up their activities.

"The private sector is the key pillar of our country's economy and our social welfare development," he told business people, challenging them to invest much more in various sectors that can help many people to transform their lives.

The President for instance said that investment in Rwanda is still 10% of the country's GDP, which he indicated is still very low and could be doubled or tripled. "This requires people to work hard and smart," he said.

The Head of State made the statements on Saturday while meeting Rwandan business people at Petit Stade, Remera. It was during an annual event, initially known as "Presidential Investors Round Table" organized by the Private Sector Federation as a platform to exchange ideas on issues pertaining to the private sector.

According to Kagame, dialogue on how to overcome challenges is an essential tool when people want to get any progress. He noted that dialogue should be a win-win situation. "Both private and public sectors should work hand in hand through dialogue so as to get lasting solutions for our development," he said, adding that that culture of dialogue has been helping Rwandans get solutions.

In this regard, the private and public sectors in last October launched the national Public Private Dialogue (PPD), which is a new platform where both private and public sectors come together to improve the business environment. Through the dialogue between the public sector and PSF, there have been reforms of taxing laws, MoUs between the Federation and all districts as well as the Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) among others, pointed out Faustin Mbundu, the chairman of PSF.

President Kagame therefore thanked the private sector operators for being not only engaged in collaboration with different institutions in making better business environment, but also for their commitment to embrace other national programs meant to transform lives of people.

PSF for instance contributed Frw 8 billion to Agaciro Development Fund which was launched in last August. Last year, Kigali business people handed over Frw 300 million to President Kagame to support his Girinka program which aims to empower vulnerable families.

"I want to thank you for contributing to Girinka program that changed the lives of many people," he told the business people, adding that they increase their market for their products when they empower vulnerable people. "Those who benefited from Girinka can now buy some of your products and then your business flourish," he said.

The President also encouraged businesspeople to invest in capacity building so that Rwandans can be able to take advantage of the existing good doing business framework. Furthermore, the head of state challenged the private sector to produce more items locally in order to reduce imports that are still estimated to be around five times of Rwanda's exports.

During the dialogue, businesspeople got an opportunity to raise their concerns and share their views with the President. The dialogue, that has been taking place since 2007, was attended by representatives of the PSF from all provinces and Kigali city as well as government officials.

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