President Paul Kagame has urged top government officials to act with a sense of urgency to improve services they provide to Rwandans.
The Head of State made the call yesterday while launching the 11th leadership retreat that is taking place at the Gabiro Combat Training Center, Eastern Province.
At least 250 top government officials are participating in the retreat held under the theme; ‘Accountable Governance’ as a key approach for the implementation of the country’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2).
“We are working for citizens of Rwanda, not for personal interests. We need to do more and we need to do it fast,” Kagame said.
The president said that the current performance has to be significantly improved if the country is to realise growth targets that have been planned in EDPRS 2 and Vision 2020.
By highlighting the slow growth of the Rwandan economy last year at 6.6 per cent, the president said that a lot has to be done to ensure that any government official or private sector operator responsible for sluggish implementation of development activities is held accountable.
Under the EDPRS 2 (2013 to 2018), Rwanda targets 11.5 per cent annual growth rate and has to significantly invest in rural development, productivity, youth employment, and accountable governance to make the growth target a reality.
“We cannot avoid responsibility. We must clarify where we fell short, why and what needs to be done to correct it, “ Kagame said.
He advised participants at the retreat to explain clearly the challenges for the implementation of development projects in the sectors of agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and industry because some of them have taken long to be completed.
Projects that have been pointed out as moving at unacceptable slow pace in the energy sector include the electricity generation KivuWatt project; which extracts methane gas from Lake Kivu to generate the energy, Rukarara Hydro Power Plant, and Nyabarongo 1 hydro power plant.
Projects to build Bushenge Hospital in the Western Province’s Rusizi District, some roads in Kigali City, and food processing plants in the Eastern Province have also been described as delayed.
Kagame urged officials in charge of the projects to clearly describe their challenges in implementing them by showing figures, people, and institutions that are failing to fulfill their duties.
“We can’t just remain lost in speeches. We must pinpoint where the responsibility is, where the problem is. We can’t avoid that,” he said.
“We can’t just keep hiding behind one another, covering failures individually or collectively. We have to own up”.
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, who presented a progress report for the implementation of resolutions the leaders made at a similar retreat last year, has also urged fellow leaders to have a sense of urgency while implementing projects.
“We need to draw a line and say that certain things have to stop. We need to be responsible and own up,” he said.
Habumuremyi said that a slow implementation of government projects was mainly due to poor follow up of projects on the part of government officials and failure to respect citizens’ interests among certain officials.
Rwanda’s economy is expected to perform better this year compared to 2013, according to estimates by the government, IMF and World Bank, which have projected the economy to grow by between 7.2% and 7.5%.
The EDPRS 2 is set to deliver the country to middle income economy, and this will require GDP per capita to increase from the current $644 to $1,240.