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Before yesterdayThe Rwanda Focus

Entrepreneurship Week to inspire youth into business

By Triphomus Muyagu

Organizers of the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 Rwanda chapter give explanations on the initiative. (photo Triphomus Muyagu)

The Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 Rwanda chapter that will run from November 14 to 20 aims at inspiring Rwandan youth to become entrepreneurs.

During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions in 160 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity.

Pamela Munyana, the country director of Idea for Africa, which is among the organizers of the week, said they wish youth to take entrepreneurship as a career to become job creators and address unemployment.

“We want them to think about business when they’re young. However, we have observed some challenges youth face such as lack of innovation, access to finance, creativity, critical thinking and access to markets. During this week, we will meet a big number of youth and see how we can look for tangible solutions for their challenges,” Munyana said.

Livingstone Nkuusi, branches coordinator at the Business Development Fund (BDF), added that entrepreneurship is about problem-solving, noting that they want to attract many people into entrepreneurship and that during that week, they will link youth to potential collaborators, mentors and investors.

“We will assist youth on how to get markets, how they can use their small savings and start business and also visiting successful people in business,” Nkuusi said.

Pacifique Uwineza, the director of the Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs at the Private Sector Federation (PSF), said they want youth to turn theory they are taught at school into practice, and that during the week they will talk about business, opportunities available in business, tax issues and standards.

Malawian officials visit RNP on anti-corruption program

By Staff reporter

The Malawian delegation speaking with senior RNP officers. (courtesy photo)

Two officials from the Office of Public Officers Declarations of Malawi have visited the Rwanda National Police (RNP) as part of their working visit to learn from Rwanda’s success in combating corruption.

Assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Jean Nepo Mbonyumuvunyi, commissioner for Inspectorate of Services and Ethics, who received the officials alongside ACP Celestin Twahirwa, commissioner for community policing, detailed to them on the “RNP role and strategy in preventing and fighting fraud and corruption.”

“Corruption is viewed as an enemy of the rule of law and a major obstacle to protection and promotion of human rights and development as it destroys the proper functioning of both public and private institutions and that’s why fighting it is part of the political agenda backed by strong public support,” ACP Mbonyumuvunyi said.

Graft, he said, manifests in various forms including bribery in form of money, moral, gifts, sexual and gratuities among others. This, he said, can lead to lack of public trust and confidence and undermines operational effectiveness of security services.

As part of the RNP to implement legal tools and policies, he explained, the force established an anti-corruption unit and run campaigns in partnership with other public and private players in the anti-corruption sector.

“Any police officer caught in such malpractices is penalized accordingly including dismissal from the force, because there is zero tolerance to whoever is implicated in graft regardless of the rank or seniority.”

Public support through community policing, establishment of communication channels like toll-free lines – 997 for anti-corruption and 3511 to report police officers – twitter, facebook, online crime reporting, he said, have supported the police efforts in responding to the vice through information sharing.

According to ACP Twahirwa, the use of IT in policing has limited individual contact with police officers like in registration and processing of driver’s license while the created disciplinary unit within the force, internal audits and ethical trainings and standards keep police officers in check.

Christopher Tukura, the director of Public Officers Declarations in Malawi, said that as a new agency which has been in existence for two years, they saw Rwanda as one of their best learning countries to “add value to the anti-corruption fight in Malawi” as they plan to roll-out most of their operations.

“During one of our interactions with the World Bank and EU and our online search, we discovered that Rwanda has made tremendous progress in the fight against corruption. International agencies have ranked Rwanda’s fight against corruption very highly,” Tukura said.

“We came here as a fellow country and Africans to see how better you are doing and to learn from you. We visited the Office of Ombudsman and they informed us that this fight can’t be won by one institution. So, our coming here at Rwanda Police was to learn the progress you have made as the police force in the fight against corruption.”

“We are impressed by the collaboration by various institutions in the anti-corruption sector to progressively deliver results, but also internal measures within police to deal with corrupt officers.”

RNP also signed a partnership agreement with the Office of Ombudsman, Transparency International (TI-Rwanda), all districts and the Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP), partly to join efforts against corruption.

Three held in Rwf 1 billion tax scam

By Staff reporter
Using EBMs is still a challenge to many traders

The suspects are alleged to have manipulated EBMs to run ghost companies. (file photo)

The police has presented three men who were arrested in connection with evading taxes amounting to Rwf 1 billion.

The suspects are alleged to have manipulated electronic billing machines (EBM) to run ghost companies that they would later use to claim for VAT refund from Rwanda Revenue Authority.

The suspects are identified as Cliaque M., Jean Claude R. and Abdul Karim R.

Besides the refund claims, the trio would also issue false EBM receipts to traders without items sold and would get commissions on every false receipt issued, according to Police preliminary investigations.

They are alleged to have ran the scam using ghost companies registered as Union Trading Company, Beyi Layisi Company and Quality Business company.

“For over a year, they weren’t selling or buying a single unit, yet their billing machine indicates that they had amassed taxes…besides, they were claims of VAT refund from these suspects under the ghost firms as well as refund companies that had acquired items from the trio which triggered investigations that later discovered the network,” Emmy Mbera the coordinator of EBM in RRA said.

Bayi Layisi had allegedly claimed a VAT refund of Rwf249m, Quality Business Rwf542 and Reason Trading had claimed a refund of Rwf 221million.

“Of the 12,000 EBMs so far given out, 25 so far were found to be involved in such dishonest dealings and of the 25 people who own these machines, 10 have been arrested but we are working closely with RNP to ensure all those involved are brought to justice.”

Addressing journalists at Remera police station, the Central Region police spokesman superintendent of police (SP) Emmanuel Hitayezu commended efforts of all stakeholders and the general public for their partnership in overcoming illegal business activities, and for facilitating the apprehension of fraudsters.

“This should serve as an example to those in the business community who are planning to indulge in such activities. Sooner or later we shall catch up with them and they will face the law,” he said.

Hitayezu pointed out that such activities negatively affect the country’s development agenda and warned the business community against getting involved in activities that undermine the economy.

If found guilty, the trio risks a jail sentence of up to two years and a fine equal to the evaded tax as stipulated in article 369 of the penal code.

Man arrested for torturing three children

By Staff reporter

Police on Sunday arrested a man for allegedly taking hostage three children and torturing them, because according to him they had stolen Rwf 27,500 from him.

Emmanuel G., 39, who was arrested in Nyarugenge, allegedly took hostage the three victims aged 9, 10 and 14 years on Saturday night in Nzige village, Rwamagana District, accusing them of stealing his money and a bag; he then put them in the boot of his car and drove them to Kigali.

The police spokesman for the City of Kigali, supt. Emmanuel Hitayezu said that the man, after torturing the children, took them to Rwampala health center in Nyarugenge where he left them with the security guard.

“He didn’t return and the security guard decided to contact the medical staff who attended to the children; the medical staff in turn reported the matter to police and Emmanuel G. was arrested the following morning as he came back to check on the children,” Hitayezu said.

“The parents of the children have been notified of their safety and the children have been transferred to Kacyiru district hospital for further medical checks for a detailed report which will be sent to the prosecution,” he explained.

The suspect is said to have assaulted the children, who were found with bruises on their bodies.

Article 218 of the penal code stipulates that inflicting severe suffering on a child, harassing or imposing severe punishments or degrading him, attracts a prison term of six months to two years and a fine of Rwf 100, 000 to Rwf 300,000.

Hitayezu stressed that nobody can take the law in their own hands.

“Even if someone commits an illegal act against you, you hold no power to take matters in your own hands, that makes you a criminal as well; the justice system was put in place to professionally handle the public’s concerns,” he said.

Motorists on the spot over bribery

By Staff reporter

In the last week, 16 drivers have been arrested for attempting to bribe traffic police officers. (file photo)

The police has cautioned drivers against violating traffic regulations and attempting to bribe police officers as means to prevent penalties, warning that the force has revised its approach to ensure that such defiant individuals are arrested to face justice.

Spokesperson for the Traffic and Road Safety department, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kabanda said that drivers are the majority of people who try to bribe police officers with money after they are caught in traffic violations.

“In the last one week alone, we arrested 16 people, all drivers who had violated traffic rules and regulations, which in itself is a dangerous offense that put the lives of people at risk of fatal accidents,” CIP Kabanda said.

Most were arrested in the City of Kigali.

“We are well aware of these ill-intentions and traffic officers along the roads have two main responsibilities; to control the traffic flow and penalize offenders accordingly, and to arrest anyone that tries to offer bribes, and this past week of arrests should serve as an example and warning to others with such ill-thinking,” he noted.

At least over 400 people have been arrested in the last two years in connection with attempted bribery, majority being drivers.

“Corruption or bribery and accidents have something in common; the only difference is that one reaps you apart and clumps on the individual and country growth slowly while the other one hits on spot but both, and fighting them requires concerted efforts through information exchange.”

He further appealed to owners of vehicles to be part and parcel of enforcing road safety standards and always follow up the operations and discipline of their drivers.

CAR officials visit Isanga One Stop Center

By Staff reporter

The director of Kigali Forensic Laboratory, commissioner of police Daniel Nyamwasa, with the CAR delegation. (courtesy photo)

A delegation of officials from the Central African Republic (CAR) currently on a study tour in the country, visited Isange One Stop Center at Kacyiru District Hospital on November 4, to learn from Rwanda’s model in fighting gender-based violence (GBV).

The officials are from the Ministry of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation.

The delegation which was led by Dr. Ephrem Kosh Komba, the Director of Cabinet in the Ministry Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, was received by the Director of Kigali Forensic Laboratory, Commissioner of Police (CP) Daniel Nyamwasa who gave them an overview and a tour of the center.

“Isange is a multidisciplinary and holistic approach that binds various institutions responsible for fighting and preventing GBV including the ministries of Gender and Family Promotion, Health and Justice; the creation of Isange came as idea to harmonize scattered efforts in responding and handling the increased cases of GBV and child abuse,” CP Nyamwasa explained.

“We have doctors, psychologists, social workers, judicial police officers and this helps a victim to acquire all the necessary services in one place and free of charge,” he added.

“Where necessary, we accompany the victims back to their homes to make sure that they are fully reintegrated in their families because some of them sometimes feel rejected. We work with various entities on grassroots to ensure that they are fully rehabilitated,” he noted.

In his reaction, Dr. Kosh Komba said: “We came to Rwanda to partly witness how you have managed to fight gender based violence. What we have seen, especially here at Isange… it’s amazing and commendable how security institutions in Rwanda work together with other institutions to offer services to victims in one organized and well equipped place.”

He observed that, in CAR like in many other countries, gender based violence is still a big issue…” victims don’t get justice which is different from Rwanda as we have witnessed, where victims are helped psychologically, given medical care and legal services.”

Isange, which started as a pilot project in 2009, has since been expanded to 28 other district hospitals across the country.

It offers free medical, psycho-socio and legal services to victims of GBV and child abuse and has facilitated the public with easy means of communication with a toll-free line – 3029, 3512 and 116 for Child Abuse – which have been essential in getting information from the affected for immediate response.

I&M Bank equips SMEs with financial skills

By Triphomus Muyagu

Robin Bairstow, managing director of I&M Bank Rwanda, hands over a certificate to a trainee. (photo Triphomus Muyagu)

I&M Bank Rwanda has concluded a training for local small and medium enterprises in business plan writing, budgeting, loan application requirements and interpretation of financial statements.

The 3-day training, organized by I&M Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB), ended on Friday.

At the closing ceremony during which certificates were given to 20 trainees, I&M Bank Rwanda’s managing director Robin Bairstow said that training of SME owners has been at the core of the bank’s activities as this has been on the agenda each year since 2011.

“We have got a strategic partner for this program with the EIB, so the training you have received meets international standards,” he told the trainees.

“This initiative shows our attachment to the key sector of SMEs which are the cornerstone of Rwanda’s industrial growth,” Bairstow added. “It’s our duty to provide support to SMEs, and this training is the second of two that were planned for this year. We will have two other sessions next year.”

Trainee’s views

Augustine Mugirangabo, who is accountant at Quick Master Supply in Nyarugenge district, said the training involved different participants, who also shared experiences which enriched him.

“I am a client of I&M Bank, and this training will help me to create strong relationship with it, to acquire investment capital since the bank is willing to work with us to expand our business,” Mugirangabo said.

“In the last three days I have also been able to acquire knowledge on this bank’s electronic services such as internet banking,” he added.

Josephine Musasirwa for her part said the training will help her to establish the budget for her business and monitor it.

“I have come to know more about the products this bank offers and which are suitable for business such as e-banking, e-water and visa cards,” Musasirwa said.

RNP starts rotation of South Sudan peacekeepers

By Staff reporter

The returning peacekeepers were in August decorated with medals of service excellence, particularly for their peacekeeping role in Malakai region. (courtesy photo)

The first batch of 120 police peacekeepers returned home from South Sudan on November 4 as Rwanda National Police (RNP) started to rotate its Formed Police Unit One (RWAFPU1) contingent of 240 officers, which has since completed their one year mandate.

They were received at Kigali International Airport by Commissioner of Police (CP) Felix Namuhoranye, the Commandant of the National Police College (NPC), who was flanked by other senior police officers.

They arrived home few hours after RNP also flagged off another group of 120 officers, who constitute RWAFPU2 contingent of other 240 officers under the command of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Eric Mutsinzi, who will replace RWAFPU1 under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Their based camp is located in Malakai, Upper Nile.

The FPU specializes in public order management like crowd control; facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance, escort duties and protection of UN facilities.

The returning peacekeepers were in August decorated with medals of service excellence, particularly for their peacekeeping role in Malakai region.

CP Namuhoranye lauded them for their discipline, teamwork and professionalism, which guided them in their successful tour of duty.

“This is an annual rotational programme conducted in all mission areas where Rwandan police officers are deployed. The rotation will be conducted in two shifts, with the equal number of 120 other police officers set to arrive home while other deployed, early next week,” Police Spokesperson, ACP Theos Badege said.

“These deployments in all missions, is based on Rwanda’s foreign policy and commitment to bring about peace in other countries,” he added.

Currently, RNP maintains about 1000 police peacekeepers in five UN missions, with at least 30 percent of them being females.

IMF tips Rwanda to promote local production

By Triphomus Muyagu

IMF Team leader Laure Redifer with Finance Minister Claver Gatete. (courtesy photo)

A team from International Monetary Fund (IMF) that visited Kigali from October 19 to November 2, has advised Rwanda to put emphasis on production of local products to reduce the trade balance deficit.

The group held discussions with the authorities on the sixth review of the economic and financial program which is supported by the IMF’s policy support Instrument (PSI) and the first review of policies supported by the IMF’s Stand-by Credit Facility (SCF).

Team leader Laure Redifer said they agreed with the government’s assessment that longer-term policies should help restore external sustainability and these include accelerating policies to support increase and diversify exports and promote domestic production of certain products that are currently imported, through the ‘Made in Rwanda’ campaign.

According to the National Bank (BNR), Rwanda’s trade deficit has been widening, with total export dropping in value by 2.4% in the first half of this year after, after a decline of 6.3% in the same period of 2015, as a result of poor performances in the mining sector.

Also in the first half of this year, formal imports recorded an increase of 3.3% in value, after a decrease of 5.1% in the same period of 2015.

However, the IMF’s Redifer noted that Rwanda’s economic performance remains strong with GDP growth of 6.5% in the first half of 2016, affirming that growth projections for the entire year remain at 6% driven by the services sector, with slightly lower growth in agriculture due to recent drought, and a contraction in manufacturing and construction following the end of a recent investment boom.

Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said that to boost agriculture, the government is promoting the use of improved irrigation systems and inputs to increase agriculture production, and a proper storage.

The IMF team observed that the government’s performance under its programs has been strong, with almost all of the targets set for the end of June this year being achieved. They also remarked that adjustment policies are proving successful at reducing the trade deficit for goods and services, further abetted by the recent completion of several large public investment projects.

Redifer pointed out that the reduction of external imbalances they should help maintain official foreign exchange reserves coverage at adequate levels.

She added that they welcome the early decisive action already taken by the government which will help avoid a more serious situation, and these policies should help safeguard medium-term growth prospects around 7% by avoiding potentially hasher adjustment policies that are more disruptive to growth.

World Bank supports social protection system with $95 million

By Triphomus Muyagu

Finance Minister Claver Gatete and World Bank country manager Yasser El Gammal explain the agreement. (courtesy photo)

The World Bank has boosted Rwanda’s social protection system with a $95 million International Development Assistance (IDA) credit.

The signing of the concessional loan with an interest rate of 0.75%, to be paid back in forty years with a grace period of ten years, was held in Kigali on Thursday between the World Bank country manager for Rwanda, Yasser El Gammal, and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete.

El Gammal remarked that support to social protection will enable Rwandans to overcome poverty and inequality.

“This support will focus on strengthening the management and service delivery of the social protection program especially the Management Information System (MIS) and the Ubudehe household registry classification system,” he said.

El Gammal added that the loan will also be used to improve the harmonization and efficiency of the Vision Umurenge Program (VUP) which provides cash for work, income support and financial services to poor households.

“Social Protection System (SPS-3) will further support harmonization across social protection initiatives, especially income-generation programs and child-sensitive policies,” he added.

The project supports Rwanda in achieving its goal of establishing a well-structured social safety net with national coverage. The reforms supported by the project will improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of the system and will expand coverage among poor and vulnerable populations.

According to Finance Minister Gatete, the agreement is an indication of the good relationship between Rwanda and World Bank.

“Apart from the social protection sector, the World Bank has provided support to agriculture, health, and transport, among others,” he said.

He observed that in recent years, the World Bank has supported social protection through financial support and technical assistance.

“With this agreement, we are focusing on inclusive growth to address poverty and cater for our own,” Gatete added.

This latest agreement brings the World Bank’s total financing in the three years since 2014 to $260 million.