LEGISLATORS in the Lower House, on Tuesday, passed a series of Bills that will see Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA) dissolved and replaced by three independent and specialised bodies focused on oil, gas, and minerals as well as land, water, and forestry.
The basis of the draft laws was unanimously approved by the House, last week, when tabled by the Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, who also sought and successfully secured the legislators’ urgent deliberations on the draft laws.
At the weekend, the Bills were discussed at the parliamentary committee level and plenary sessions held on Monday and yesterday enacted the laws, essentially allowing the Government to proceed with the split of RNRA and replace it with three dedicated bodies.
The new agencies to be created are Rwanda Land Management Authority, Rwanda Water and Forestry Management Authority, as well as the country’s oil and gas authority.
“We wish these institutions to be operational as soon as possible so that they can realise the goals they were set to achieve,” Biruta told journalists yesterday after Parliament passed the laws governing the agencies.
RNRA was formed in 2010 as a merger of National Land Centre, the National Forestry Authority (NAFA), and the Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority.
Demand overtakes RNRA mandate While the merger was initially intended to streamline the bodies’ services, Biruta said RNRA was no longer fit to deliver on the new goals set by the Government to maximise efforts in the exploration and exploitation of minerals, oil, and gas, as well as efficient management of land, water, and forests.
“Whenever there are needed reforms they have to be made; the intended results under RNRA were not satisfactorily achieved,” he said.
Officials said the envisaged bodies will have financial and administrative autonomy and will be in a better position to focus on their specific objectives.
Minister Biruta said that more than 400 people, who are currently employed by RNRA, will be redeployed to work in the new agencies depending on their competencies and the Government will hire additional staff to fill new positions, especially managers.
Last week, the legislators unanimously welcomed the move to split RNRA, arguing that the new entities will bring more focus on specific areas that need to be exploited to improve the lives of Rwandans.
Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa thanked the MPs for having tirelessly worked over the weekend to enact the laws, indicating that the new agencies will help drive the country’s economic agenda forward.
The Government has pledged to strengthen efforts to explore for minerals in the country, add value to minerals that are already exported from Rwanda, and resume exploration activities for oil and gas.
Officials also say that water and land resources have to be better managed to help citizens live well without exerting too much pressure on the country’s natural resources.