Religious leaders to mobilize flock topay taxes

Religious leaders to mobilize flock topay taxes

Religious leaders from various faith backgrounds have made a commitment of educating their flock on the essence of paying taxes as a way of increasing the country’s internal revenues.

The commitment was made on January 29, 2014 during a meeting with the Rwanda Revenue Authority officials. The meeting was under the theme: Striving for self-reliance through taxes”

The head of internal revenues at RRA, AimableKayigi said that the role of religious leaders in this case is very vital since the have a mass population that accounts for 95 percent of the community.

He said that education the believers to pay taxes promptly are a job that can be easily done by religious leaders since most believers believe in them. He said that the country has managed to drive towards self-reliance and so far taxes account for 51.7 percent of the country’s annual budget.

Sheikh Ibrahim Kayitare, the Mufti of Rwanda said that the idea of mobilizing the faithful during prayer services and sermon giving is a good idea but there should be a permanent and sustainable mobilization plan set up by religious leaders and the revenue officials.

Bishop of Kabgayi diocese, SmargadeMbonyintege, and Head of Catholic bishops in Rwanda, also was supportive of the idea but also suggested that the religious leaders should not stop at encouraging tax payers but also helping in rebuking those who embezzle public funds and those who evade taxes- since this has an equal negative impact on the economy.

New innovative ways needed to maximise World Bank Group benefits – Gatete

New innovative ways needed to maximise World Bank Group benefits - Gatete

Finance minister, Amb. Claver Gatete has asked for more innovative ways which would allow Rwanda to maximize benefits from the World Bank Group (WBG) instead of focusing only on the International Development Assistance (IDA).The IDA is the soft lending arm of the Group.

Gatete was recently hosting WBG’s Executive director, Dr. Louis Rene Peter Larose.Dr. Larose was here for talks and gaining a better understanding of the development challenges facing Rwanda, in particular Rwanda’s relationship with the World Bank.

“We need to look beyond IDA and take advantage of the Bank’s networks to tap into other resources which can support other aspects of our development plans such as facilitating the private sector to be the driver of the economic growth,” Gatete said.

He suggested the WB partner EAC countries by supporting Northern Corridor infrastructure projects which would accelerate development across the region.

WB contributes to Rwanda’s development plans by aligning its support towards Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy2 (EDPRS2).

Larose said, “To fully understand development challenges facing African countries, we need to get to the ground and make proper assessments to be able to draw strategies that would indeed address these challenges.”

Larose praised government of Rwanda’s reform efforts that are transforming the country. He was impressed by the EDPRS2 targets of reducing poverty by 20% and creation of 200,000 annually.

Gakenke: Youth eye vocational workshop as key to development

Vocational workshop under construction in Gakenke district

Vocational workshop under construction in Gakenke district

As youth in Gakenke district await the completion of vocational training in Gakenke district to get different skills and create jobs for social development.

This comes when vocational workshop construction phase I is going on in Gakenke district to empower youth and other residents through skill training.

While most youth in this area survived on cultivation, the workshop will help them learn skills to create own jobs and develop socially and economically.

Under the district plan, the vocational workshop will have four houses and a commercial house where products will be sold from.

Youth eye vocational workshop as key to development

Normally, cultivation activities dominated in youth because they could not access vocational training schools but the new workshop will enable youth train in different skills, some residents said.

Theoneste Bahufite, a resident confirmed that the workshop will be a platform for youth to learn skills since it required them to go to Kigali or to another district before for vocational training.

“Youth have been going to Kigali city or in Ruhengeri to get vocational training. But now, they will be training from here and reduce on transport costs and time,” he added.

Youth eye vocational workshop as key to development

Another resident, Jack Byukusenge noted that apart from agriculture, some youth could do small temporary jobs like working on a construction site, saying a workshop will be of great use to them.

“Technical workshop will help us to create jobs and earn a living. Skills like tailoring, welding, carpentry and electrical engineering will boost our social economic development,” said Byukusenge.

Deogratias Nzamwita, mayor of Gakenke district highlighted that construction of vocational workshops is a big project that will entail all artistry activities.

“It’s a big project that will be executed in 3 phases. The first site was chosen by the district to set up a place where carpentry, welding among others will be done and taught,” he said.

It’s expected that vocational workshop construction activities phase I will cost close to Rwf32 million while the whole project will cost up to Rwf400 million.

Skills to spur Industry, service sector Growth in Rwanda

Skills to spur Industry, service sector Growth in Rwanda

Rwanda’s Industry and Service sectors are expected to grow as efforts to train more skills gain momentum, according to KalrajMshra, the union Minister of India in charge of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises-MSME

The Minister said that thecurrent governmentefforts to focus on the Vocational and technicalskills will help   the industry sector as well as the service sectorto hire local skills whichwill reduce on the   cost of operation.

“technical  and vocational   skills  not only provide jobs but also  help the key  sectors of the  country like the industry  to acquire skills to help them grow and increase their production,”  he added  while  in his  tour  to officially launch the India-Africa Vocational training Incubation  Center in Kigali. 

The India’s Minister  said that growth of the economy   will heavily  rely  on the manufacturing   and  industry sectors   in terms of  increasing   exports through   value addition  and  also  reduce  on  imports that  widen the country’s trade deficit.

The industry sector in particular has been among  infrastructure   challenges  facing the   skills gap which  required  the sector to hire from  outside  Rwanda thus  crippling its growth   that  is expected to be  26 percent to  GDP in 2020.

The center that is equipping unemployed youth with skills in manufacturing and processing    is looking at providing the needed skills to the industry and service sector as one way of boosting the sector.

“We want to see the sectors of the economy having enough skills they need and hopefully with short course   we will close the gap,” Jerome Gasana, Director General at   Workforce Development Agency-WDA said

Gasana said that the government embarked on increasing tech nail and vocational skills through establishing   vocational schools that has seen   more skills trained mainly in the hospitality sector that was hiring expertise form the region.

Rwanda to start producing refined leather

Minister of trade and industry Francois Kanimba visiting the leather factory premises recently

Minister of trade and industry Francois Kanimba visiting the leather factory premises recently

Small and Medium Enterprises –SMEs   manufacturing leather products   will no longer import leather, the Minister of trade and industry Francois Kanimba has said

Kanimba said that    SMEs dealing in manufacturing products such as shoes, handbags, belts among other products have been relying on leather imported from Kenya and Ethiopia which has been expensive.

“Our shoe making SMEs   have been relying on imported leather which has proved costly and makes products expensive,” The Minister said

The Kigali Leather Ltd which is  built along the  Nyabarongo River  in Bugesera district, the Minister  said is expected to  start  production after one year  and will provide enough leather for the  SMEs thus boosting the  country’s  leather   subsector.

The country has been   exporting raw  hides and skins  to market around the  region as well as China which  fetches less value, but says the   industry will  add value   to  increase the  value  of the  hides and skins exports.

Luan Lu Ming, Director General of Kigali Leather Ltd says that the    industry is likely to   start producing refined leather in the next five months due to shortage in supply of leather from    livestock farmers.

“Our industry will need 60 containers of hides to start producing leather but we can only afford 30 containers,” he said.

Experts say there is need to   lure livestock farmers as well as   businessperson dealing in Hides and Skins to   bring their   hides and skins to the industry instead of exporting   it (hides and Skins).

According to Central Bank,   Rwanda’s trade with the region   registered a positive   outlook with    trade amounting to USS$ 70.57 million from US$ 57.64 million in the first half of 2013 representing 22.4% increase.

Hides and Skins are among Rwanda’s key exports   to the region mainly in Congo.Others are coffee, tea, raw hides and skins, bars and rods of iron steel, leguminous vegetables and malt beer.

Infrastructure hampering industrial sector growth

Infrastructure hampering   industrial   sector growth

Infrastructure challenges mainly electricity, water and good roads are hampering the growth of the country’s industry sector.

The   country’s nascent sector that contributed around 15 percent   to GDP in 2013 way down from the targeted   26 percent by 2020 is still struggling to   increase its capacity that is needed to provide value added products to boost exports.

“We need 1,200 cubic meters everyday but we have only 360 cubic meters,” said Nils Zirimwabagabo, the Commercial manager of Trust Industries Ltd, manufacturers of napkins and sanitary papers.

He adds, “This makes theindustry performs at 40 per cent of its capacity.”

Augustin Habimana, legal advisor at Master Steel industry also says that apart from the shortage of water   needed to   generate air pressure   needed for   efficient operation the industry is facing, there is a challenge of shortage of electricity that   hampers   production.

“The industry also needs 4 megawatts of power for its operation but only 2.5 megawatts is available,” he added

Minister of Trade and industry  Francois Kanimba  says that   the sector  is still facing a lot  of   challenges which hampers its contribution to  GDP  but noted that    recent  government  intervention  is likely  to   overhaul the sector.

“Such challenges affect the good performance of the industry sector but as government we are looking into these,” he said.

He adds, “When we look at the new industries that are coming up in the country, with some that have started operations, though not to 100% full capacity, we believe that production from the industry sector is increasing.”

The Minister noted that   creation of    industrial parks, across the country will  ease   the  extension of  resources such as roads, water and electricity thus  reducing  operational  costs by  industrialists which will in turn   increase  production.

The government is looking at the industrial sector to increase value added goods that can compete in the intentional markets thus able to fetch higher value that will see export receipts   increase.

Gicumbi: Traders discuss extending closing time

Byumba market

Byumba market

Traders at Byumba main market revealed that closing the market gates at 6:00 pm brings loss to their business because they get few customers during the day.

Most of their customers come to the market after work which is from 6:00pm onwards, as said by Feza Uwitonze; selling fruits and vegetables in Byumba market.

This was confirmed byEsperance Niwemugeni, who requested local authorities to extend the time to like 7:00 pm.

Alexandre Mvuyekure, mayor of Gicumbi district highlighted that the problem had been discussed during the security meeting, saying it will be addressed before the end of January 2015.

He explained that this issue had been discussed with residents during the general security meeting.

The mayor explained that they plan to install security lights inside and outside the market to ensure security of the traders before extending closing time.

Traders are optimistic that once they are allowed to operate until 7:00pm, business will improve leading to improved social condition.

 

Microfinance sector to commission study on widening bad loans

Microfinance sector to commission study on widening bad loans

The launching of new loan products for LetshegoMicrofiance, the
sector is yet to be subjected to a study to ascertain the causes
of bad loans

The country’s microfinance sector that recently faced challenges of widening Non- performing Loans-NPLs is looking at    conducting    research to cut the sector off the bad loans hook.

Rita Ngarambe, Executive Secretary, Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda-AMIR says the study will help provide the basis   for action to   help the sector raise its performance   and   gain back its positive profit margins.

“We need to have scientific facts to help ustake action on the causes of these bad loans,” she noted

She noted that   the recent  efforts  by  the Association and  stakeholders  to build the capacity of   the  institutions  in management as  wells  as  loan  disbursements  had  had an  impact   on the performance but  still  NPLs  continued to grow.

“so  now we want to know where  the  challenge still lies and we address it to have  these financial  institutions  able  to  facilitate   access to  credit   without   incurring  losses,”  Ngarambe noted

Recently,  the Central  Bank announced that the  microfinance sector   that  includes  Microfinance  institutions  and  Savings and credit   cooperatives-SACCOs saw its  Non-performing loans raise  in the first  nine months of  2014 to 7.7 percent compared to the same  period  2013

Financial experts earlier   attributed  the increasing  Non  performing  loans   to failure by financial  institutions to  provide   borrowers with  detailed  info loan  information as well as  costs incurred in recovering such loans.

“This is because managing small loans costs a lot and also the delivery channels that needs to reach to Client’s vicinity,” Ngarambe noted

Nevertheless, Damien  Mugabo , Director General  at Rwanda Cooperative Agency  says that   with recent efforts to train  and  digitize  the  Savings and Credit cooperatives  will help  cushion   the   sector  from   poor performance.

“We are now helping these Savings and Credit Cooperatives to cut down costs by adopting new technologies,” he   noted

Indeed, such efforts  have  helped the sector register positive   outlook  with  its assets growing   to  Rwf 153.87 billion in the  first  nine  months of  2014 up from Rwf 126.2 billion in the same period   in  2013, while total  deposits  grew to Rwf 84.5 billion with gross  loans   increasing  by  18.4 per cent.

Entrepreneurs urged to focus on business   planning

Entrepreneurs urged to focus on business   planning

Young   entrepreneurs have been urged to focus on business planning if they are to expand their businesses.

Experts say that  most young g entrepreneurs focus at  setting up businesses  and accessing credit  but  forget  to carry  out a thorough   business plan, something  that has seen most  businesses  by young people  end up  closing.

Moreover,  most of  these   businesses ,  according to  Lydie Hakizimana, an  entrepreneur  are born  out of  creative  ideas  which  if well planned would grow into  corporation and multinational  companies and create  more  jobs.

“The challenge young people have is taking time to carry out a long term business plans to analyze the risks and opportunities in the business they   wish to do,” she earlier noting that knowledge on strategic planning is needed to help the youth   sustain their businesses.

She adds that there is need to expose young Rwandan leaders to tools needed to become today’s best leaders and entrepreneurs that the country needs to achieve its ambitious development goals.

Rob Shallenberger is the CEO and Senior Consultant for Becoming Your Best, a coaching  organization  based in  UntiedStates  believes that   training young  people  on  both  managerial and leadership will help  strategically position their   business to  become  multinational on the continent.

“A young entrepreneur must know how to break down barriers in three distinct areas including: Individual, Relationships, and Leadership and Management,” he earlier noted

This comes at the time when young people  say they lack of credit to kick starts their businesses has been hampering their efforts to start  their own businesses  thus holding back efforts to promote job creation.

Most youth say that financial institutions ask for   many requirements which   make startups for young entrepreneurs   unable to qualify for financing as opposed to lack of skills and knowledge on   business running.

“The problem is not  the  plan but the  willingness of  people to accept  that  once given  money we can run   the  businesses we set up,” Emmanuel Byamukama,  a retail shop owner  in Remera said

But   experts  say that   due to lack of  a streamlined business plan which   projects business  growth  for a  period of time  as well  as profitability  of  the said  business affects their   operationalization of their dream   businesses.

World Bank boss pleased with Rwanda’s Economic growth

World Bank boss pleased with Rwanda’s Economic growth

The visiting World Bank Group Executive Director Dr. Louis Rene Peter Larose has pledged continued support by advocating for changes on how the World Bank engages member countries and best approach to leverage maximum resources from the Bank.

The Executive Director is in Rwanda for a three day official visit to discuss and understand the development challenges facing Rwanda and in particular Rwanda’s relationship with the World Bank Group. Dr. Larose is the Executive Director of African Group 1 constituency, representing 22 countries including Rwanda at the World Bank Group Boards.

“To fully understand development challenges facing African countries, we need to get to the ground and make proper assessments to be able to draw strategies that would indeed address these challenges,” Dr. Larose said.

He lauded the government reform efforts that are transforming the country. He particularly singled out EDPRS 2 targets such as reducing poverty to below 20%, creation of more than 200 thousand jobs per annum, facilitating the private sector to be the engine for growth as well as government’s promotion of accountable governance as remarkable initiatives; that will modernize Rwanda.

 He noted that the implementation of EDPRS2 requires more funding and assured continued partnership with Rwanda.

Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Claver Gatete acknowledged the role played by the World Bank in Rwanda’s development but called for innovative ways with which Rwanda could maximize benefits from the World Bank Group instead of focusing solely on the International development Assistance (IDA).

“We need to look beyond IDA and take advantage of the Bank’s networks to tap into other resources which can support other aspects of our development plans such as facilitating the private sector to be the driver of the economic growth,” Minister Gatete said.

Minister Gatete further urged World Bank to look to partner East African Countries by supporting Northern Corridor infrastructure projects which would accelerate development across the region.

World Bank contributes to Rwanda’s development plans by aligning its support towards EDPRS2. Currently the Bank supports various projects including infrastructure, agriculture, and energy, and Rural and Urban settlement, social protection among others.

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