KIGALI - The proposed scrapping of work permits for foreigners working in Rwanda will be largely depend on the outcome of an ongoing national skills audit, the new Minister of Public Service and Labour, has said.
Anastase Murekezi, who until March 7 was the Minister of Agriculture, told this reporter yesterday that the Government was awaiting the findings of the skills audit to determine how much labour in specific fields was needed to propel the country to the desired development.
“That process (the audit) has been ongoing since October 2007,” he said.
His immediate predecessor Prof. Manasseh Nshuti gave contradictory statements on the case just days before he was dropped from Cabinet. At first he said that only foreigners with a Master’s Degree would benefit from the scheme, and then later, saying that work permits would be waived to all foreigners.
The assessment is being carried out through a joint collaboration between the ministry and Human Resource and Institutional Capacity Development Agency (HIDA).
The Director of HIDA, Charles Karake, said the audit would ascertain the country’s shortfalls in the labour market.
According to Anaclet Kalibata, the Director General of the Immigrations, sectors such as construction and mechanical engineering are still lacking in manpower. He said “incentives were needed to attract qualified personnel from other countries to work in Rwanda.”
Kalibata said that by removing works permits, Rwanda would reach its mission of becoming a knowledge-based economy.
The Cabinet on January 18 approved the move to waive the permits.
Earlier this month, the president of Rwanda Private Sector Federation, Robert Bayigamba, said the country spends a whooping $80 million (about Frw43.6b) on consultancy services each year.
He deplored such a situation, saying such consultancy services include studies and lamented that over eighty percent of that money goes back to donor countries.