Following the mini Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, newly appointed ministers have spoken about their ambitions and what will be top on their agenda in their new portfolios.
President Paul Kagame reshuffled his cabinet that saw a few ministers transferred to different ministries and others dropped from the cabinet line up.
In an interview with The New Times, newly appointed Infrastructure Minister, Vincent Karega, who has served in different cabinet posts, said that his main focus will be strengthening institutions under his docket and fast tracking the development of infrastructure needed for the economic growth of this country.
“Of course the first thing I have to do is strengthen the institutions of the Ministry to support the development of the country.”
“Infrastructure development is one of the major areas I will focus on as well as appropriate maintenance strategies that are sustainable to our economic development,” Karega said.
Karega reckons that the country is in much need of infrastructure including roads, railways, airports, hospitals and others that form the backbone of economic development.
“We will carry out prospective studies to know all the necessary infrastructure Rwanda needs in the areas of transport, energy and water to speed up development,” Karega.
The former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Secretary to the Treasury, John Rwangombwa, is the newest face in the Cabinet.
He was elevated to head the Ministry of Finance, replacing James Musoni who is now Minister of Local Government.
Rwangombwa who takes office at the time when economic growth is expected to recede from 11.2 percent in 2008 to between an estimated 5 to 8 percent in 2009, as well as the current global recession, said that maintaining the Macro-economic stability of the country was his priority.
“Number one is maintaining the macro-economic stability of our economy. As the economy recovers, we will focus on investing in areas that ensure quick returns to avert the effects of the crisis,” Rwangombwa said.
“Most important on my agenda will be putting in place proper public finances management- ensuring accountability at all levels. I will also focus on financial sector development to boost economic growth,” said Rwangombwa, who has been at the ministry since 2006.
On the other hand, James Musoni, the new Local Government Minister said that during his tenure at MINALOC he will be preoccupied with the need to harmonise coordination between the Central and Local Government for efficiency and effectiveness in policy implementation.
“You know, in Local Government you have to support efficiency and effectiveness of local governments at the district and other levels close to the people in line with the decentralisation programme.
“This means that you have to give these levels of governance the means to implement policies efficiently and effectively. You focus on promotion of good governance, service delivery and social justice to the people in order to embark on development,” Musoni said in an interview with The New Times.
Musoni who has also occupied several cabinet posts, further said that the ministry is charged with the task of implementing policies of the central government.
He takes over at a time when big percentage of Mayors and other senior district officials have resigned, been sacked or ended up before courts for different reasons, especially misusing public funds.
The new minister said that his office is charged with social protection, where vulnerable groups are catered for through Social Safety nets which are mechanisms to mitigate the effects of poverty and other risks; and this is what he will focus on during his term.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources was split into two; that of Lands and Environment and Forestry and Mines.
Christophe Bazivamo will head the Forestry and Mines portfolio while Stanislas Kamanzi takes over the new Environment and Lands ministry.
In an interview with The New Times, Kamanzi whose job description hasn’t changed much from his previous post, said that there is nothing new in particular, but said that his first days in office will be preoccupied with forthcoming negotiations on Climate change.
“Rwanda and other African countries need to come up with a Climate Change Regimen; an agreement managing the negative effects of Climate Change. As Rwanda, we believe all nations have to put together efforts to curb climate change,” Kamanzi told The New Times.
Ahead of the upcoming Copenhagen Meeting on Climate change, Kamanzi said it is a role of both developed and developing countries to merge efforts to abate climate change by cutting down on emission. He said it is not only the duty of developed nations to cut down emissions.
“What we need is commitment from developed countries to mobilise finances and support developing countries to adopt and support policies to combat climate change policies,”
Kamanzi added that Developing countries will need to support developing countries to go with clean technology to boost industrial growth. He said Rwanda will continue with its plans of going ‘Clean and green’.
Top on his agenda will be pursuing the implementation of land tenure and consolidation plans as well as putting the country’s water resources to proper use.
His colleague, Christophe Bazivamo, revealed that his main focus at the Forestry and Mines Ministry will be ensuring value addition to the country’s mineral resources before export.
“All stones have value depending on how you use them; therefore the main focus will be value addition. We have lots minerals to exploit which we can add value to before export, thereby generating revenue for our economy.”
Bazivamo also added that focus will also be shifting from rudimentary mining methods to technology-based mining. He said he will implement the country’s plan to have at least 30 percent of the country’s land covered with vegetation.