VILLAGE URUGWIRO - The Presidential investors’ roundtable held at Urugwiro Village yesterday predominantly focused on issues to do with doing business and private sector development in the country.
In the lengthy discussions, “captains of the industry” – an assembly of some 65 private sector representatives presented President Paul Kagame with issues, including progress on the implementation of last year’s resolutions and a summary of pending issues in a discourse he well appreciated.
“A meeting which is aimed at resolving different issues affecting the private sector and of course the government, or both if I may say, and resolves that in a form of a dialogue,” President Kagame said at the closing of the all-embracing and lengthy exchange of views session.
As achievements are consolidated and challenges confronted, Kagame stressed that both the private sector and government will always find challenges but as they confront them they should “also seek to turn them into opportunities, for more success.”
After listening to the various concerns raised, the Head of State noted that in the process of creating solutions, he “has always held the view that we have to deal in many ways for us to be successful.”
“We have not only to work hard but to work smart.” This, he maintained, has to be built on how attitude, mentality, mindset are changed.
“The important aspect of partnership has not really worked well as it should be working. We prefer to point fingers,” he said.
“Working together can easily address this and is less costly in achieving results.”
Some of the overarching business challenges raised by the private sector included transport, access to and cost of land, and effective tax rates.
“When asked to rank the problems in order of priority, the number one priority cited by the businessmen is effective tax rates, followed by land, finance and workforce skills,” Robert Bayigamba, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) President said at the onset.
Kagame noted that tax issues were widespread, but stressed that how to manage them was essential.
“I want to look at it in a much wider context - the whole essence of tax, not talking about abolishing it,” Kagame said.
“I think we need to put it in its right place and address it properly instead of just turning it into some kind of monster that we need to get rid of,” he said, also urging the private and public sector to work together.