15 February 2013

Rwanda: No One Should Be Forced to Pay Mutuelle - Premier

Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has stressed that no one is allowed to force people to pay health insurance fees. He made the clarification during the quarterly Accountability Day, during which the government's activities are explained and questions answered.

The Premer said that local leaders who force citizens to pay the fees act illegally and should be punished. "Mutuelle was introduced to help improve access to quality health care, and contribution to health insurance is voluntary. Leaders should help them to understand the program instead of forcing them pay for things they don't understand. Then they will pay because the role of health insurance is obvious."

Cases of forced payments were reported in Nyagatare (Eastern Province), Nyanza (Southern) and Rutsiro (Western), and people who didn't comply were arrested and had their livestock confiscated. "We are going to investigate the issue, and if we find it to be true, those responsible will be punished. In the past, local leaders have already been removed from their positions for this same reason," Habumuremyi said.

In addition, the Prime Minister said that 2,546 staff in local government has been trained on good governance and quality service delivery including executive secretaries of all provinces and 30 mayors. "The training is supposed to eradicate such issues, with local leaders getting to know their role better and how they should interact with the citizens," he said.

In his presentation, the he also gave clarifications on the electricity roll-out, with 40,000 new connections made in the last quarter.

In agriculture, he said that up 731,823ha of farm land has been consolidated. Habumuremyi explained that maize, beans, Irish potato reached 102% of the targeted production at 3,375,185 tons. "For export crops, new coffee plants have been planted on 48,920 ha while tea plantations reached 22,408 ha from 22,000 ha," he said.

He further stated that in the land registration programs, documents were delivered for over 2 million plots. "The target is 4,000,000 and with this pace, it can be achieved soon," the Prime Minister stated.

Concerning the Girinka program, so far 140,907 cows has been distributed to poor family as a way out poverty, while 41,492 poor families have received emergency support for a total sum of Frw 1,573,380,281.

In the education sector, 1,725 classrooms for the 12-year basic education had been constructed by December 8. "15,561 laptops have been distributed in 9 schools in the one-laptop-per-child (OLPC) program; the total number of laptops available so far is 161,732."

For the next quarter, the focus will be on mining, infrastructure and energy, agriculture mechanization, health, education and ICT.

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