Kigali, 5 March 2011

The minister of Cabinet affairs, Protais Musoni, has said that Government has resolved to work as a unit to ensure that the country achieves its development objectives. Addressing a press conference after the leaders’ retreat, Minister Musoni said during the retreat leaders resolved to cooperate in order to find solutions to the problems facing the country: “Leaders have to be proactive as opposed to the practice where everyone has to look at only what concerns them. We resolved to cooperate and consult among us in order for the country to attain its development aspirations.”

Minister Musoni, who was accompanied by the Minister of Commerce, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, and the Minister of Education, Dr. Charles Muligande, said that leaders had identified key areas which, if addressed, would accelerate the country’s development. Reducing the trade deficit and tackling unemployment were singled out as the most urgent.

Minister Monique Nsanzabaganwa said: “The Government will work to empower the Rwanda Development Board to enable it to spearhead all issues related to development in the country. The Government will also strengthen SMEs so as to create employment,” She said that in order to boost energy in the country, the Government would take the lead in investing in the sector as a way of attracting investors.

Minister Muligande said that the Government recognizes the fact that the people are the country’s biggest resource and it would do all it takes to invest and develop their capacities. Clarifying the issue surrounding the scrapping of university student allowances which has stirred controversy, Minister Muligande said the fundamental responsibility of the Government is to build the education infrastructure to enable more students get quality education while responsibilities of upkeep of students should rest with their parents. “All along, only 6,000 students have been receiving the student allowances. Why haven’t the 36,000 students committed suicide because they have not been getting the allowances?”  Minister Muligande said in response to a question that alleged that a student from one of the public universities had committed suicide after learning that the Government had scrapped the student living allowances. “If anything, the government is still paying millions in tuition fees for students,” Minister Muligande said. He also said that in order to improve the quality of education, the Government would devise ways of motivating teachers and finding mentors to enable them teach English better.