Brand Rwanda top of 2016 Leadership Retreat agenda

Top national leaders from all arms of government tomorrow head to Rwanda Defence Forces Combat Training Centre, Gabiro, where the 13th National Leadership Retreat is scheduled to be held over the weekend.

The annual retreat is a platform for leaders to strategise for the year ahead, after taking stock of the concluded calendar year. 

It is chaired by the Head of State.

Speaking to The New Times, Stella Ford Mugabo, the minister for cabinet affairs, said the retreat will be held under the theme, “Reaffirming Brand Rwanda,” and will take place between March 12-14.

Mugabo said more than 80 per cent of resolutions from last year’s retreat were implemented, with only one falling short of implementation while the others are at half-way.

At least 16 key resolutions on corruption, stalling projects, land issues, water supply and overhaul of healthcare systems were honoured, she said.

Using the traffic lights method in quarterly evaluations, more than 80 per cent of the resolutions were marked green, those ‘on track’ are marked yellow and only one resolution was indicated in red.

The lone unmet resolution was number 13 – to upgrade Shyira Hospital in Musanze District by providing it with the required equipment, staffing as well as installing electricity.

According to the minister, the rehabilitation of the hospital, which was partially government-sponsored since it was operated by a church, was more costly than the establishment of a new district hospital.

“After assessment, we realised the total cost was higher than constructing a new bigger hospital that would serve more people; so for cost-effectiveness, we agreed to build a new one on the same land,” Mugabo said.

“As the first phase, we agreed with the church leaders to conduct an expropriation exercise as the government prepares a budget to set up the proposed hospital.”

Meanwhile, the Cabinet affairs minister said there were tremendous achievements vis-a-vis the decision to tackle reports of corruption in government projects, mainly infrastructure-related.

Resolution success

While the last retreat had resolved that all stalled projects should be identified and new deadlines set, Mugabo said at least 96 per cent of that resolution was achieved and that suspected corruption cases involved were dealt with accordingly.

At least 280 big and small-scale projects, most of them in the infrastructure sector, were identified as having lagged, 12 of them were suspected to be mired in corruption, while six of them were set up for thorough scrutiny after they emerged to be in serious mismanagement.

“Some 524 corruption cases on the same projects were singled out, from which 360 cases were filed in courts. At least 124 were handled administratively while two were transferred to court for prosecution, the rest might be sent to conciliators (abunzi),” she said.

According to the minister, 293 individuals were either convicted or acquitted while the rest were reprimanded administratively, but she declined to reveal the projects concerned as they were still under investigations.

Other areas that have partially been implemented, according to the minister, involve reforms in health care systems, specifically community-based health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de Sante, water supply in rural areas and review of land lease tariffs for effective land use and management.

In the process of reviewing the healthcare system, where leaders had resolved to revise the cost of medical services and harmonise cooperation of hospitals and health insurance companies, the minister said they realised they had to take caution.

According to Mugabo, a slight increment in Mutuelle de Sante contributions would heavily affect budget planning, which forced government to go back on the drawing board to regulate tariffs with insurance companies and ensure a win-win situation.

“A number of decisions with respect to land issues were to be taken at the cabinet level, including the team of experts that had to be vetted at the national level, this was done and a presidential order was issued to address certain areas,” she said.

Concerning the supply of water in rural areas, she said, with the exception of Gatsibo District, the rest of the country has been successfully served.

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