The New Times (Kigali)

Rwandans Pledge to Work for Self-Reliance

DELEGATES at the just concluded 10th annual National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura have committed to work towards Rwanda's self-reliance.

The two-day annual dialogue attracted participants from within and outside the country, including senior officials, local government leaders, members of the civil society, and ordinary Rwandans.

Closing the forum, President Paul Kagame asked Rwandans to fully implement the resolutions of the dialogue as a stimulus to achieving the country's development goals.

"I thank you all for participating in the dialogue; I hope you have concluded it with a commitment to be patriotic and have a strong need to contribute to the transformation of our country with a focus on self reliance, determination and dependence," he told the delegates.

Kagame reminded ministers and other officials that, it's their job to serve the people.

"The ideas discussed during this dialogue should broaden our imagination and possibilities. The better things are still ahead, we should put on much effort and speed up our initiatives to achieve our development vision," the President emphasised.

Rwandans, he said, should be proud of what has been achieved in the country within a short period of time and own the development process.

At the dialogue, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba highlighted the mechanisms in place to enhance domestic savings as part of efforts to attain self reliance.

Kanimba called for speedy enactment of the new pension law which allows the operation of private pension schemes.

The minister also talked about the new Trust Law which will give Rwandans more opportunity to invest.

"Under unit Trust Schemes, people buy units of small amounts, for instance, if one million Rwandans invest Rwf10, 000 per year, annual savings increase by Rwf10 billion," he explained, adding that unit Trust has a big potential to impact on savings mobilisation in the country.

"With these enhanced mechanisms there is a potential to increase national savings by approximately Rwf151 billion annually."

The Trust Bill which is still pending in parliament, can also be an investment vehicle for Rwandans in Diaspora, he said.

Some of the recommendations made at the end of the dialogue, urged religious leaders to sensitise their flock to work towards self reliance and parents to take an active role in the fight against drug abuse among the youth.

John Rwangombwa, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said that the Agaciro Development Fund launched in August, has raised Rwf25.1 billion and the ministry has already collected Rwf10.1 billion.

"The "spirit of Agaciro" is more important than the contributions. The investment is for the prosperity of the next generations," he said.

Rwangombwa pointed out that the priority areas to be selected for the Agaciro Fund will have high financial returns and greater socio-economical impact.

At the dialogue, the Rwandan Diaspora from Malawi contributed Rwf40 million to the Agaciro Fund.

Some of the concerns raised ranged from drug abuse among the youth, to failure of Kigali Teaching Hospital (CHUK) to provide medical care to patients, access to public services, among others.

As always, central and local government leaders in the hall were tasked to respond to queries raised through live call-ins, SMS and social networking sites Twitter and Facebook messages.

On CHUK, Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister of Health, explained that the hospital is overwhelmed.

She added that government decided to set up a district hospital in Nyarugenge District and increase the capacity of Masaka hospital.

"This dialogue is a genuine democracy. African countries should emulate what Rwanda is doing to be self reliant. We really appreciate President Paul Kagame and his leadership for transforming Rwanda into a fastest growing nation in the period of 18 years after the Genocide," said Luc-Adolphe Tiao.

The event was broadcast live on the local TV and radio stations. Thousands of people followed the live streaming online.

Stipulated in article 168 of the constitution, Umushyikirano is one of several homegrown initiatives devised in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

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