PRESS RELEASE ISSUED ON MAY 1, 2020
In its press release of April 27, 2020, the Rwandan Internal Opposition suggested measures that permit Rwandans to live with COVID-19 while staying with it safely.
The Rwandan Internal Opposition salutes that the government, in its meeting of April 30, 2020, has taken up some of the proposals as highlighted in its press release issued on April 27, 2020. However it is quite disappointed that the government ignored some of the key proposals especially those regarding financial resources to be driven to boost the economy and did not show to the Rwandans and the International Community concrete plans to revive the economy according to its press release of April 30, 2020 in its preamble paragraph 3.
The Rwandan Internal Opposition and all Rwandans were not surprised by the decisions taken by the cabinet on April 30, 2020 since in his press conference held on April 27, 2020, the President of the Republic did not spell out broad guidelines on how the government was going to revive the economy.
The Rwandan Internal Opposition is of the view that this is the time that the political leadership should fulfill its duty to meet its obligation of reviving the economy which was also in bad shape before and has been worsened due to COVID-19 pandemic.
In this regard, the Rwandan Internal Opposition would like to propose the following measures for the short and long term.
In the short term, the government should do the following:
1. To act quickly in order to bring national life back to normalcy. In this regard, the Rwandan internal opposition considers that it is quite necessary for the Central Bank to provide financial resources directly without going through banks to business enterprises, particularly manufacturing industries that produce goods of basic necessity, medicine, textiles, foodstuffs, beverages and in the service sector for example those involved in transport of people and goods and in health products etc..
Even though the law may not allow the Central Bank to act in this manner, Parliament could change the law to allow the Central Bank to take this course of action in order to help the economy to come back to life quickly. This would be so because it is the only way to give resources to these enterprises in order to resume their activities quickly and employees will get their salaries. As consequence, this will boost job market, goods market, service market and even financial market;
2.Particular assistance should be given to businesses involved in transport because they are likely to incur losses as they will be carrying fewer passengers in order to respect health and safety measures such as social distancing;
3. The government must reduce the rate of indirect taxes including VAT and customs duties on food and other basic necessities;
4. In order to quickly increase government revenues, the government could suspend for a period of 6 months taxes exoneration for business companies particularly foreign companies apart from those that have to invest in agriculture, livestock and manufacturing industries involved in food processing and those investing in health and education;
With regard to long term, the government should do the following:
1. To withdraw its shares from the commercial businesses that have been in red financially like Rwanda Air and Hotels like SERENA and others;
2. To stop the RPF Inkotanyi Party which is ruling Rwanda with iron fist from getting involved in running businesses because this runs counter to free and fair competition. This is true since the enterprises that belong to the ruling party RPF take all the contracts in the country because of its advantageous position of belonging to the ruling party;
3. To promote an economy based on investing, as a priority, in agriculture and livestock, food processing, health and in education;
4. To focus on a diversified economy that promotes all sectors of national life instead of relying on one sector because when it collapses it affects the whole economy. In the present case for example, it is clear that the Rwandan economy is in a dire situation because the government invested in one sector such as service sector; ie tourism, hotels, air transport etc.
Because of this reason, the Rwandan Internal Opposition calls on foreign governments and international institutions including the World Bank, the IMF to stop giving financial assistance to the Rwandan government until it meets the following conditions:
1. The Rwandan government should first all use its internal resources to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and should not use it as a pretext for begging. In so doing it will avoid being accused of “COVID-19 business”;
2. Sound management of aid and avoid using it in other purposes other than in supporting the economy and assisting Rwandans;
3. Accepting to work with other key stakeholders including non-government organizations, opposition political parties and the media in the implementation and monitoring of measures being taken to revive the economy and to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
Issued in Kigali, on May 1, 2020
Ms. Victoire INGABIRE UMUHOZA
President of the DALFA UMURINZI Party (Sé)
Me NTAGANDA Bernard
Founding Chairman of the PS Imberakuri Party (Sé)