Business round-up

WB budget support offers $10m for agriculture Out of the World Bank (WB) $80 million (Rwf45.5 billion) grant donation, the agriculture sector will receive a share of $10 million (Rwf5.7 billion). This is to help farmers’ access loans to promote agricultural production and development.
Rural farmers to benefit from $10 million World Bank Grants.
Rural farmers to benefit from $10 million World Bank Grants.

WB budget support offers $10m for agriculture
Out of the World Bank (WB) $80 million (Rwf45.5 billion) grant donation, the agriculture sector will receive a share of $10 million (Rwf5.7 billion). This is to help farmers’ access loans to promote agricultural production and development.

The grant deal is channelled through the national budget for the Fifth Poverty Reduction Support Grant (PRSG.V) to assist government with the implementation of the 2009 mini-budget, which underlines key policy actions in the Economic and Development Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).

With the sector employing about 80 percent of Rwanda’s population, it is expected that a greater focus on agriculture will help boost overall economic growth and can offer multiple pathways out of poverty.

Apart from the agriculture sector, the total grant will also enhance access to energy, transport and creation of an attractive business environment.

The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) will administer the grant the under the Rural Investment Facility (RIF). However, the first disbursement will be made after parliament’s approval of the grant. This is expected within two weeks.

A-Link technologies to assemble laptops, radios

Rwandans will soon own laptops and radios assembled in their country. This follows A-Link Technologies, a Chinese firm’s plan to start assembling laptops and radios in Rwanda.

Their assembling will start with an initial investment worth $0.5 million (Rwf283.7 million).

This is believed to consolidate the country’s stance as an Information Technology hub in the region while increasing the firm’s product line. Currently, it assembles mobile phones, making Rwanda the first country in the East African region to host such a plant.

According to Edward Yin, the President of A-Link Technologies, the two projects (laptop and radio) will be on the market by end of July this year.

“Since our partners in China are developing the chips, we expect to start assembling laptops by the end of next month, whereas radios later on,” he explained.

Management predicted that a laptop, which will be christened ‘A-Link’ like other products the firm assembles. A laptop will cost about $400 (Rwf 226,960)—$216 (Rwf113,480) less than the current price.

Local companies exhibit in Uganda

Local companies attended the International Expo for Trade in Business and Professional Services yesterday in Uganda.

The expo that opened at the Uganda Manufacturers Association showground in Lugogo, Kampala ended yesterday.

Officials from the Private Sector Federation (PSF) say that only two companies registered with the federation for participation though there was a possibility that others left without registering.

PSF as a business community umbrella body facilitates companies intending to exhibit outside Rwanda with services such as acquiring visas, clearing merchandise, and linking them with others.

The week long expo attracted over 500 exhibitors from different African countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. They networked to promote their competitiveness.

Some of the services showcased include insurance, telecommunications, post delivery, engineering, consultancy, procurement, tourism and travel, financial services and real estate.

Truck drivers yearning for social benefits

Truck drivers across the country through their association (ACPLR) are seeking for government intervention to obtain social benefits.

The truck drivers’ representative, Ishmael Rwemarika, claimed that they (drivers) face several uncertainties while in the line of duty but their bosses give a deaf ear.

He said that they do not have employment contracts and insurance making their future doubtful. They also earn salaries ranging from Rwf80,000 to Rwf120,000, which does not reflect their faithfulness and state of the labour market.

The call was made during a meeting for Association of Drivers’ Spouses (AEC/DUHUGURANE), where members expressed dissatisfaction with the working conditions of their ‘husbands’.

To cater for some of these concerns, it was said that drivers prefer an increase of salaries to at least Rwf500,000. This was considered enough for savings and contributions towards social security.

The Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR) takes three percent of the total salary while the employer contributes five percent.

The SSFR Director of Pension and Benefits, Oswald Munyandekwe, said that the pension body also moving towards increasing its coverage.

Rwandatel targeting post-paid subscribers

Rwandatel is targeting to host post-paid clients in order to bolster it market share to achieve a target of 600,000 subscribers by June and a double by end of the year.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Patrick Kariningufu, revealed that the platform is currently under construction and targets corporate and the business segment of the market who need continuous communication.

It is expected to be ready by end of this month will be launched within the next month of April. Currently, Rwandatel has over 250,000 active subscribers on the prepaid package, since switching to the GSM technology early last December.

The technology enables subscribers to conduct wireless video calls, and access broadband Internet among other uses. The increase in the number has been attributed to the low call rates across MTN and the sale of affordable mobile handsets at the launch and the provision of better services.

The company is jointly owned by LAP Green networks a subsidiary of Libyan African Portfolio (LAP) and National Social Security Fund.

PSF to establish code of corporate governance

The Private Sector Federation (PSF) an umbrella body of private businesses in Rwanda is to establish the code of corporate governance.

The document will provide rules and regulations to corporate companies about their duties and obligations. It is aimed at improving systems and standards of governance in Rwandan companies.

Molly Rwigamba, the PSF Officer in charge of Capacity Building and Employment, said that the importance of the code of corporate governance is in building confidence in business community, preventing financial crisis and curbing corporate scandals.

To achieve this, PSF will establish a centre of corporate governance which will provide induction training to new board members of member companies.

Non-member companies and state owned corporations can benefit from this induction training for free. The code of corporate governance comes to complement the code of business ethics which PSF is also set to establish soon.