13 March 2019

Rwanda: Umwiherero - Leaders Commit to Improve Public Services Delivery

Photo: Village Urugwiro/New Times
President Kagame and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta addressing delegates attending the National Leadership Retreat at the Rwanda Defence Force Combat Training Centre in Gabiro. Kenyatta made a surprise visit to the retreat.

As leaders departed Rwanda Defence Force Combat Training Centre in Gabiro where the 16th National Leadership Retreat (Umwiherero) was taking place, they committed to step up efforts to improve public services delivery, among other resolutions.

This is seen as response to the challenge that President Paul Kagame gave to the leaders at the closure of Umwiherero when he told them that there was a strong need of doing things differently.

Minister for Local Government Anastase Shyaka speaks during a news briefing on the just-concluded National Leadership Retreat in Gabiro on Monday. Emmanuel Kwizera.

"Have a better attitude, the correct mindset and the implementation based on some of the good policies we actually have. We should not just be coming here to repeat apologies. We need to be explaining why we are falling short on our goals," the head of State said.

Officials told journalists yesterday that this was one of the challenges they had taken on to turn around public services delivery, which is critically needed fast-track the country's socioeconomic transformation.

It is envisaged that a well-functioning public sector that delivers quality public services consistent with citizen expectations will significantly contribute to poverty alleviation.

"To promote services delivery in the public sector, we resolved to extend infrastructure in rural areas and other areas where citizens hardly access services. This includes setting up more schools and health posts among others," Anastase Shyaka, the Minister of Local Government, said.

Shyaka added that they have given themselves huge goals to advance human capital development by building more schools and health facilities.

He, however, highlighted that they want to facilitate more Rwandan students to study and target to improve the learning environment for all existing schools in the country.

During the previous retreat, government set a target of building 100 health posts. An excess of 103 health posts were built while 48,472 health workers were trained, according to official figures.

In education, officials said, 834 new teachers were recruited as teachers' salaries were increased by 10 per cent.

The minister said they talked much about the role of private sector in making sure that people get services efficiently and affordably, something they indicated that the two parties committed to do.

"We agreed that the private sector will play a critical role in extending the services and products that they manufacture closer to where people live without only focusing on cities and urban areas. This means, for instance, setting shops in villages to allow citizens to access affordable products," he noted.

To make sure the private sector meets this commitment, he said, they are taking a number of actions to promote private players, particularly through establishment of market linkages.

They believe this will also help citizens to easily take their agricultural produce and other products to markets, enabling them to get real value out of their daily economic activities.

For the first time, the just-concluded Umwiherero had a big representation of private sector.

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