Business round-up

Unstable food prices push inflation to 5.7 percent The annual inflation in the month of September rose by 0.09 percent to 5.7 percent from 5.41 percent in the previous month, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).

Unstable food prices push inflation to 5.7 percent

The annual inflation in the month of September rose by 0.09 percent to 5.7 percent from 5.41 percent in the previous month, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).

The institute attributed the increase in inflation to a 3.6 percentage point rise in food and non-alcoholic beverages plus a hike in transport. Transport rose by 1.01 percent in the monthly of September.

The NISR said in a statement last week that the increase in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages is primary attributable to the increase of prices of vegetables that rose by 9.25 percent and fish by 4.9 percent.
However, bread and cereals showed a negative change of 1.37 percent as beef gained by 0.07 percent. 

Furnishing, household equipment and routine household maintenance reduced by 0.11 percent as prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels rose by only 0.33 percent.

The underlying inflation rate, which does not account for fresh food and energy, decreased by 0.17 percent to 3.6 percent in September compared to 3.77 percent in the previous month. 

The prices of the fresh products had a positive annual change of 26.12 percent between September 2009 and September 2008.
Balton eyes One Laptop per Child project

Balton Rwanda, a subsidiary company of Balton CP, is targeting to support the connection of the one laptop per child project (OLPC) which enables all primary school children to own computers.

This was revealed by the company’s General Manager, Bob Gatera, during an interview with the Business Times Last week.

According to Gatera, getting the laptop is one thing and getting connectivity is another.

“It is easy getting computers but connecting them isn’t. So we are in negotiations on how we can connect rural areas and we are dealing with the same company that did the same project in Uruguay, so they are experienced,” he explained

Balton Rwanda operates five different divisions, including agriculture, communication, electro mechanical Engineering, public health and projects and services.

In agriculture, fertilisers are provided to famers who are trained on how to use their products. In communication, they are the Motorola distributors; they give radio communication equipments, Wi-Fi system and provide solution for telecom companies 

100 percent of MTN Rwanda’s annual budget utilized

Two months before the year comes to an end, 100 percent of MTN Rwanda’s annual MTN Rwanda has already utilized, by 100 percent the budget that it had designated for improving the operations for the year 2009.

The first telecom company in the country had this year earmarked an investment worth $100 million for its operations in a bid to improve service delivery and grow the company.

According to Richard Tusabe MTN’s Chief Finance Officer, all the funds have been put use and the company would have wanted to invest more had it not been for the lack of liquidity during the year.

“There has been huge hindrances this year like the unwillingness for the banks to loan money to the public hence borrowing some from abroad,” said Tusabe.

The largest telecom operator in the country by the size of its market raised 50 percent of the budget from its own sources while the remaining 50 percent was borrowed locally and from abroad.

MTN borrowed $18 million from local Banks and
through vendor financing jointly with Ericson Company, MTN acquired $30 million from KfW IPEX bank GmbH from Germany.

Kayonza residents feast on free new beer brand

BRALIRWA this week gave Kayonza residents free drinks of their new beer brand, Turbo King ahead of the official launch later today.

“We were given samples for people to taste pending the official launching of the new beer brand ‘Turbo King’ on October 30,” said Jean Bosco Budeyi, the Kayonza district distributor.

Excited town residents went on a drinking spree, attracting passers by along the highway.

Richard Habumukiza, 45, said the beer brand has a different taste that will no doubt quench their thirst. 

“Now this is what I call beer, at 6.7 percent alcoholic level it is nice and strong. The colour of the beer itself is a bit darker than usual. This is what probably explains the taste that is strong.This strength combined with its expected low prices will make it one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Rwanda,” he said. 

Almost 100 percent of the overall ICT budget utilized

Almost 100 percent of the overall ICT budget stipulated for the year 2008 and the first half of 2009 has been executed according to a report presented to stakeholders last week.

The Sector Performance Report 2008-2009 that was presented by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Ministry in charge of ICT in the office of the President, attributes this mainly to the fact that projects implemented in the mini-budget were ongoing, a rollover over from the 2008 financial year.

The total allocation for this period was Rwf10.6 billion of which 99 percent was well utilised.

However, according to the report’s analysis, a number of projects were facing some challenges. For instance, the report says that the Wireless Broadband (WiBro) access network for Kigali, which is to extend to 5 major cities, had been constructed, but was yet to be commissioned.

The project was supposed to be functional by the end of September this year.

According to the report, a contract was negotiated and signed with Horizon Construction to extend the WiBro Network to 5 districts though its execution had not yet started.