The increasing cost of living world wide has caused violent outbursts by citizens against their governments, last week it was in South Africa, the week before in Ivory Cost, waves of protests about the cots of food have moved from Africa and the world over in recent weeks.
In Rwanda the minister of Local government Protais Musoni has advised citizens especially residents of urban areas not to blame government but become active consumers that can question the market forces of the private sector.
Speaking about the increasing cost of agricultural produce in Kigali at the beginning of the week, Musoni cautioned the rationale of a kilogram of Irish potatoes for example buying at Frw 60 and selling at Frw 150 when government abolished all tax charges on agricultural produce in the country.
He instead pointed the finger at the greedy forces of the private sector and advised Rwandans to ask agricultural traders why they are over charging for locally produced foodstuffs instead of government.
He called upon Rwandans to be more active in determining the standards of the commodities they consume; “Rwandans should be more active consumers. They should question the sellers (of services and goods) instead of relying on government to make all the decisions.”
Musoni said some policies like price regulations in food prices are no longer independent and are very complex for a country to adopt today, “if you set prices for foodstuffs like Egypt does for wheat, you invite the attention of IMF and World Bank to question your commitment to a free market economy, the risks can be as bad as reducing aid,” said Musoni.
Many businessmen in Rwanda mention high taxes charges and transport cost as the reason why prices of many commodities are very high making the cost of living in Rwanda higher than that of neighbouring countries like Uganda, Kenya and Goma in Eastern DR Congo.
The cost of basic foods has risen sharply around the world in recent months, sparking protests in countries from Haiti to Indonesia.
Rice prices on world markets have climbed about 75% in just two months, and the cost of wheat has rocketed by 120% in the past year.
The World Bank and UN have come out with alarm calls for world leaders to increase investment in agriculture as the world wide increasing population risked famine in a few years ahead.
The world population is expected to reach the 9 billion mark by 2050, fuelled in large part the emerging economies of China and India.
On Thursday after a meeting with the International Monetary Fund at the weekend, Robert Zoellick the World Bank president called on governments to provide the United Nations World Food Programme with $500m in emergency aid by next month.
Musoni also dismissed allegations that recent murder incidents in Kigali were necessarily connected to attacks against 1994 Genocide survivors in the country.
The grenade attack claimed a policeman’s life at Kigali Genocide memorial while a motor vehicle accident claimed the which involved one death in the a procession on their way to pay their respects to genocide victims along the road to the mid Eastern town of Kabuga nearby Kigali Institute of management campus. Suspects in both cases are in police custody Musoni said.
In Kigali there where negotiations about technical issues involved in the merging of the five members East African were underway at Serena Hotel.
While in Kampala, Germany signed technical cooperation agreement to promote tax harmonization within the Community, the agreement will see benefit from Germany assistance in funding EAC tax reforms.
In Dakar Senegal, the highly agreement between African leaders to assess each other’s performance closed shop and merged with the African Union, but will retain its secretariat in South Africa.
It has been alleged that NEPAD failed in part because of a leadership wrangle between Senegalese President Aboudalaye Wade and South African leader Thabo Mbeki.
It is reported that in a high level meeting between the two leaders failed to have a mandatory post meeting press conference.
Speaking to The New Times, Francis Gatare, President Kagame’s permanent representative at NEPAD and director general of Rwanda Investment and export promotions agency Riepa said Nepad will be merged with the existing African Union but what remains are the technical issues like human resource personnel, he also said the Nepad will ask the South Africa to host its secretariat.
I knew there was something about Raila Odinga that I never liked. But with the following statement I think I now know why.
“Each minister is to be paid about $16,000 a month and entitled to two officials cars and five security personnel - and in the case of Mr Odinga, 45 security personnel.
Mr Odinga has said that he knows people would have preferred a leaner cabinet, but it was a price that had to be paid to balance everyone’s interests.
A price of over 1200 lives and in a country where some people live below the value of one US dollar a day!
What is the difference between Odinga and proverbial colonial governor? That one is black and the other WAS white? Politics!!!!