Kagame backs privatisation of state-owned enterprises

Kagame backs privatisation of state-owned enterprises
Kagame backs privatisation of state-owned enterprises

Africa-Press – Rwanda. President Paul Kagame has said that the newly created Ministry of Public Investments and Privatisation will immediately embark on effective management of public investments but also urgently work towards putting some of them into private hands.

He said that some state enterprises will immediately be privatised following the creation of the new ministry while for others it will be gradual, but emphasised that the government’s responsibility is not to engage in profit-oriented business but rather to facilitate the private sector to thrive and it turn boost the economy.

The president made the remarks on August 2, while presiding over the swearing in of new ministers who were appointed over the weekend. The swearing in ceremony took place at parliament.

The ministers who took oath are Eric Rwigamba of Public Investments and Privatisation and Ildephonse Musafiri, the Minister of State of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

“We want to get some entities from state to the private sector immediately but there are others, for obvious reasons, which will take time but eventually be privatised,” said the President adding the intention is to ensure all entities impact positively on the lives of Rwandans.

Besides privatisation, the new ministry is also charged with identifying opportunities for the government to invest. Currently, there are several untapped investment potentials that the ministry will have to undertake before handing them over to the private sector.

Some state-owned enterprises are either managed at the central government or district level. Their privatisation process would normally go through Rwanda Development Board, however, the arrival of the ministry implies all operations related to state enterprises will be coordinated under one roof.

Who are the new ministers?

Rwigamba who leads the new ministry previously served as Director General of the Financial Sector Development for the Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, a post he was occupying since 2013, and during the last 10 years, he oversaw all implementations of policies, strategies, and reforms within the financial sector.

Before that, he was Country Director of Access to Finance Rwanda.

For Musafiri, prior to his appointment as State Minister, he served as the Executive Director of the Strategy and Policy Council (SPC) in the Office of the President.

He is an economist and a researcher whose previous research focused on development economics and policy, agricultural growth, and food policy. He holds a PhD in agricultural economics and is expected to apply transformational policies within the agriculture sector.

In relation to Musafiri’s docket, President Kagame hinted at the need to transform the agriculture sector and come up with a new approach that is more productive and can stand any shocks from anywhere.

“Our aim is to produce enough for local consumption and export to other countries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kagame encouraged the business community to tap into the enormous opportunities that Rwanda is bound to benefit from African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Rwanda was recently picked among countries set to start trading under the AfCFTA framework in a pilot phase that also involves six other countries. The seven countries were selected from 36 countries that had expressed interest in trading under the pilot phase. Each of the applicants had submitted its tariff schedule.

The president also told the newly sworn-in ministers that they have been in government and what has changed is the assignment. He urged them to apply the experiences they have to execute their duties as well as work closely to each other.

Ildephonse Musafiri, the Minister of State of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources takes an oarth on August 2. Photo by Village Urugwiro
Eric Rwigamba,the Minister of Public Investments and Privatisation swearing in on August 2nd. Photo by Village Urugwiro

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