PARLIAMENT - Members of Parliament (MPs) from both chambers of parliament will today host a high profile conference in conjunction with stakeholders on the promotion of the social welfare of vulnerable groups.
The conference which will take place at the Parliamentary buildings, according to Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo the coordinator, will enable the lawmakers learn more about available mechanisms of helping poor Rwandans out of poverty.
It was organised by a network of Rwandan Parliamentarians for the Population’s Development (RPRPD) and it is also expected to help their fellow parliamentarians who are new in the House to understand the problems of the poor citizens of the country today.
“We have many categories of vulnerable Rwandans like genocide survivors, orphans, persons with disabilities among others. As parliamentarians, we need to have a common understanding of issues that may lead to social problems,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Ntawukuriryayo is also the Deputy Speaker in the Lower Chamber of Parliament.
Available information from Parliament shows that 150 participants are expected to attend, including 106 senators and deputies from the Rwandan legislature, Central government institutions like ministries, members of the Rwandan civil society, international organisations and United Nations agencies.
“The genocide that occurred in Rwanda left many problems but a high demographic growth of Rwandans is also another threat to the country’s development, we need to review available plans to integrate everyone in development programmes,” Ntawukuriryayo said as he explained some of the issues to be tackled in the meeting.
The conference takes place amidst complaints from the general public denouncing the embezzlement of funds and irregularities in management of some schemes aimed at helping the poor and vulnerable members of the society like the health insurance scheme (Mutuelle de Santé) and the Fund for Support of Genocide Survivors (FARG).
Though the country’s prosecution is currently investigating suspects for the misappropriation of funds in FARG and those of embezzlement in Mutuelle de Santé, Ntawukuriryayo said the above circumstances had nothing to do with today’s meeting, saying the latter was based on normal plans of their parliamentary network.
“The conference is in line with our mandate as MPs in charge of people’s social welfare, no linkage with today’s FARG issues,” said Ntawukuriryayo who is the immediate former minister of Health.
The network within the Rwandan Parliament was created in 2003 and started advocacy for the people’s welfare with technical support from both the parliament and the United Nations’ Population Fund (UNFPA).
Its previous work has been directed towards explaining the country’s development programmes to different groups of the society and building MPs’ capacities to understand population policies, the Millennium Development Goals, and the country’s vision 2020.