LOCAL farmers and value chain producers, including industries, are delivering their end of the bargain so far and all that needs to be done is to make them competitive enough against imports, a report by lawmakers says.
The report, presented Tuesday in a plenary by MP Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye, vice president of the Chamber of Deputies, noted that there are many cooperatives making different local products in various parts of the country.
For example, there are local shoemakers in Nyaruguru and Gatsibo districts, wickerwork from local bamboo in Musanze District, packing materials, oil, honey and soap.
In Burera District, there is a ceramics factory, the East Africa Granite Industry is operational in Nyagatare District, and CIMERWA produces cement in Rusizi.
The challenge cutting across is to do with low production capacity, said the report that credits increased electricity rollout for the productivity of the businesses.
Rwanda’s current power generation capacity stands at about 208 megawatts, up from 160 megawatts in 2013/14, connecting about 600,000 power consumers.
The report was compiled following the lawmakers’ tours of development activities around the country in January.
According to the report, the general standard of living has improved in terms of health, education, financial means, farming, and manufacturing abilities.
The lawmakers examined various projects such as roads, electricity and water, industries and factories, financial institutions, model villages and housing-related construction projects.
Rwandans the committee interviewed appreciated the projects and the chance to improve their welfare, said Uwimanimpaye.
“In the past, projects used to be implemented and they wind up soon after, leaving people with no gains,” said MP Evariste Kalisa. “It is gratifying that people are now testifying that the development projects have had good impact in improving their livelihoods.”
Farmers’ livelihoods have improved thanks to land use consolidation and fertiliser subsidy programmes, so much that some have built houses worth up to Rwf100 million, said Uwimanimpaye.
Poverty among Rwandans declined about 5 per cent between 2010 and 2014, dropping to just under 40 per cent. Over the same period, extreme poverty dropped nearly by 10 per cent to 16 per cent, according to the fourth Integrated Household Survey.
GDP per capita has risen to $720 in 2016, up from $221 in 2003, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda.
The country’s goal is a per-capita income of $1,240, according to Vision 2020.
Access to finance, financial inclusion
Umurenge Savings and Credits Cooperatives, set up as a development initiative in each of Rwanda’s 416 sectors, have enabled people to save and work with financial institutions to get loans to do various projects, MPs said.
Just more than five million Rwandans, equivalent to 89 per cent of adult Rwandans, have access to financial services, according to The FinScope Rwanda Survey 2016, conducted by Access to Finance Rwanda in partnership with various members of the steering committee.
The private sector plays a big role in many development projects in Rwanda , said Benjamin Gasamagera, president of the Private Sector Federation.
Taxes contribute more than 60 per cent of the country’s development budget.
The private sector is also contributing directly to development projects, according to Gasamagera.
“Many taxes come from the private sector. Soon we might reach a level where we will not need foreign aid. This is something laudable,” he said.