Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi, yesterday, reassured legislators that the government will move swiftly to implement its agenda in line with the country’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2) and Vision 2020.
The premier made the commitment while addressing lawmakers from both chambers of Parliament during his inaugural address.
Under the country’s Constitution, the Prime Minister has to present Government programmes to Parliament within a period of 30 days of assuming office.
After lauding the country’s achievements over the last four years since President Paul Kagame was re-elected on the platform of promoting unity, democracy, and development, the Premier said a lot more will be done over the next three years of the President’s term in office.
While the core of the government’s agenda (EDPRS2) comprises four main pillars; good governance, justice, economy, and social welfare, the overall goal is to turn Rwanda into a middle income economy by the year 2020.
If EDPRS2 is successfully implemented, it will see Rwanda’s GDP double to $1,240 (Rwf0.8m) up from the current $644 (Rwf0.4m)
The premier said the government will improve the agriculture sector, develop manufacturing base and increase exports, develop infrastructure and urban settlements, develop the private sector and increase earnings from both tourism and foreign investments into the country in the next three years.
Murekezi said the government targets to increase the quantity and quality of Rwanda’s traditional agricultural exports of coffee, tea, and pyrethrum by 10 per cent every year. And for non-traditional exports of fruits, vegetables, and flowers the target increase is 30 per cent annually.
Farmers will also have additional access to loans as the government targets increased financing for agriculture projects. Currently, the agriculture loan book is at 4 per cent of all loans given in the country but government plans to increase the loans to 18 per cent.
The premier noted that the government will develop the industries and targets a 12 per cent annual increase for manufacturing while the input of industrial sector is estimated to move to 20 per cent of GDP, up from the current 15 per cent.
The government’s targets for electricity generation, Murekezi reaffirmed, is for Rwanda’s current electricity grid capacity of 119 MW to be upgraded to 563MW by 2017, which means that the energy production capacity needs to increase four fold.
The need for electricity seems inescapable given the government plans not only for industrialisation, but also urbanisation whereby the government wants 30 per cent of Rwandans to live in urban areas by 2017.
The government also plans to build at least three tarmac roads linking different provinces, while a number of other roads will be refurbished.
The government has also kept its agenda on social protection programmes a top priority. Programmes such as the One-Cow-per-poor-family and health insurance will be maintained and expanded.
Murekezi said both infant and maternal mortality rates would continue to go down in the next three years and the government will focus on the health of children and mothers, ensuring that more fortified food for children is produced in the country and more pregnant mothers deliver in hospitals.
He reassured Parliament that the government will implement its programmes as planned and asked for the full cooperation of the private sector, civil society, legislators, and development partners.
“I would like to assure you that we will implement government programmes as presented today,” the premier told lawmakers, also inviting them to go ahead and regularly review the government’s work.
Speaker Donatilla Mukabalisa said legislators will use the Prime Minister’s speech as a reference while assessing the government’s activities.
MP Constance Rwaka Mukayuhi, chairperson, parliamentary standing committee on budget and national patrimony, told The New Times that what the premier highlighted as the government’s planned actions in the next three years is in line with what Rwandans want to achieve.
Making reference to priorities in EDPRS 2 and Vision 2020, Mukayuhi said the government’s plans are realistic and will be achieved by 2017 because “there is a foundation” on which to build.
“Rwandans have ambitions for what they want to achieve; so let’s work towards that and it’s possible to achieve anything when there is a foundation,” she said.