Jumping through hoops

When I wrote about my preference for dull but effective governance last week, I was hardly expecting any feedback after all I was promoting boredom.Some readers felt otherwise and quickly got in touch and I can now say that just over half of those who got in touch, disagree with me. To the public servants in the halls of power I say, about 10 readers think you need to give them more headlines and things to talk about.

When I wrote about my preference for dull but effective governance last week, I was hardly expecting any feedback after all I was promoting boredom.

Some readers felt otherwise and quickly got in touch and I can now say that just over half of those who got in touch, disagree with me. To the public servants in the halls of power I say, about 10 readers think you need to give them more headlines and things to talk about.

One reader even suggested that Rwanda’s politics are actually more interesting than is commonly supposed. The problem comes with the reporting. He did not suggest that reporters and their quality were to blame - a good story practically writes itself no matter how inept the reporter – but that there was a general tendency by those who govern us towards understatement and bland pronouncement.

This is why, even in this paper, the most scintillating stories are to be found in pages 5 and 6, where all the rape, killing and failed attempts at theft in Karongi district are to be found [there must be something in the weather over there, so much violence comes out of Karongi].

Once in a while corporate shenanigans reach the front page a la DN International where 19 prospective homeowners got swindled.

At that point it gets more entertaining than many of the 15-year old sitcoms that run on TVR. Unfortunately, this means that any discussion on Rwanda’s policies inevitably go down the path of whether or not ‘X’ or ‘Y’ has a point or not. In the meantime, policies that will have a more direct impact on the lives of Rwandans are being discussed with scarcely any attention being given.

Last week the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research released a report commissioned by the Tax Justice Network and Actionaid International that controversially, in my opinion, concluded that Rwanda was the most ‘generous’ in East Africa when it came to providing tax incentives to private sector investors and that it would do well to scrap some of these incentives, at least so that it matches its neighbours, in order to boost spending.

Increasing the amounts being paid by private business already struggling to survive, let alone make a profit, to state coffers is not a view I am likely to ever support.

No news there. What was interesting was the balanced view taken by the Rwanda Revenue Authority official who was commenting on the report who acknowledged the benefits that the incentives bring to Rwanda’s economy but promised to study their effectiveness.

It’s an easy bet that most people would have assumed that the taxmen would be all over themselves and waving the report like banners. Unfortunately, this story was in the business section of the paper so most will probably have missed it.

To sports matters where our national basketball team start their campaign for a place in the Basketball world cup and next year’s London Olympics.

They were impressive in the last Afrobasket tournament that was held in Libya two years ago. Watch out for Kenneth Gasana who had frightening shooting accuracy the last time round. Rwanda has been drawn against Togo, Tunisia and the Central African Republic, all of whom are continental basketball giants.

There are more than a few tough hoops to shoot that will require the total effort and skill of Gasana et al if we’re to be successful this time round. All the best in Madagascar.

okabatende@gmail.com

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