Retreat a key platform to seek solutions, say Ministers
Today, over 250 national leaders from both the public and private sectors will start three vital days of discussions to lay the way forward for the country and set new development strategies.
Ahead of the Ninth Annual Leadership Retreat which will officially open today in Gako, Bugesera District, government ministers yesterday engaged with local and regional press in a roundtable discussion aimed at highlighting the importance of the retreat.
The Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Protais Musoni, said the retreat does not mean that work will come to a standstill because all leaders will be tucked away in the Eastern Province.
“The country doesn’t come to a halt because all the top leadership will be in the retreat. All offices will remain operational…we have moved beyond the situation where the top leadership is away and business comes to a stop,” Musoni explained.
The retreat brings together ministers, heads of government institutions, governors, district mayors, permanent secretaries, ambassadors, representatives of the private sector among others, but according to Musoni, all offices remain up and running.
During the roundtable that was broadcast live on the national TV and radio, the ministers elaborated further on what the retreat will centre on, particularly poverty reduction, based on the recent household surveys that showed a reduction in poverty levels by 12% over the last five years.
The Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, noted that poverty reduction will be dominant during the retreat, with the projected target to reduce it by another 17% over the next five years.
“The retreat is a major platform for us to plan, coordinate and lay new strategies and draw a line of action to follow in addressing the challenges we face. It also gives us a chance to be accountable for our actions,” Rwangombwa said.
He noted that during the retreat, leaders are able to assess each other and discover shortfalls, adding that after the retreat, it is possible to know who failed to meet their obligations and appropriate actions taken.
The Ministers also highlighted situations where some resolutions from previous retreats were not fulfilled as well as shortfalls in some targets.
Musoni pointed out energy targets which have not been met, where only 3MW were attained out of a possible 10MW, as the country attempts to have at least 1000MW on the grid by 2017.
“We had a plan to construct at least six new power plants but we have not been able to do so. Some of the proposed contractors did not have the capacity to do the work, so we reconsidered and re-advertised the tenders again,” Musoni said.
During the talk show moderated by Dr. Christopher Kayumba, the Ministers highlighted the leadership’s commitment to identify key challenges the country faces and addressing them.
Some of the urgent issues to be tackled at the retreat to be held under the theme “Consolidating citizen-centred development”, include job creation, improved access to healthcare, service delivery and the socio-economic development of the country.
It ends on March 7 and President Paul Kagame will chair the event while renowned economist, Prof. Paul Collier and OTF Groups’ Eric Kacou, will present papers.
Contact email: edmund.kagire[at]newtimes.co.rw