President Paul Kagame has put his Cabinet Ministers on the spot over costly policy oversights and failure to facilitate businesses.
Key issues raised by the business community at the recently concluded National Dialogue were the high cost and poor quality of internet and the unnecessary bureaucracy in acquiring export permits.
Specifically, Pascal Murasira, managing director for Norrsken in East Africa, a hub for entrepreneurs currently hosting more than 1,200 members from over 20 countries, expressed concern about the expensive and unreliable Internet.
“Internet is a big issue. Even though Rwanda is among the countries that are trying (to address the cost), for us to fast track our development; we need Internet that works well that is fast at an affordable price.
For instance, at Norrsken, we are spending approximately Rwf13 million per month on Internet costs but most of the time the connection is interrupted or you need service on Irembo and you were told the connection is off - this is an issue that needs to be addressed permanently...” Mr Murasira said, adding that recent initiatives such as the SpaceX investment under Starlink which provides high-speed and affordable internet that is now available in Rwanda show that the government is aware of the issue, and working towards addressing it.
Rwanda’s Internet penetration is currently estimated at approximately 26.3 per cent. President Kagame tasked the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire to explain why the country continues to have expensive and often unstable Internet service.
The Minister attributed it to a lack of capacity to measure the quality of the country’s Internet service, saying the system that will able to measure quality in real-time will only be available in April next year.
Ms Ingabire said it will take longer because the donor asked them to first do a study to understand the problem at hand.
And President Kagame asked her why they had to wait for the donor to be the one recommending a study to a problem they knew they had all along.
“Why didn’t you do the study on time yet you knew the problem was in place, why did you have to wait for the recommendation of the donor for you to do the study”
“Institutions are not talking and the people in these institutions are also not talking, that’s where many problems come from” President Kagame said.
The irritated president asked Clare Akamanzi-the chief executive of Rwanda Development Board why the issue of the one-stop centre has come back after all these