This has been a year of difficulties: missed opportunities, loss of loved ones, job cuts, name it. Yet in spite of everything, life must go on. We have to adjust and fit in the new normal.
While there is still a lot of uncertainty as to when the pandemic will end, life is gradually returning to normal due to human resilience.
However, as more people adjust to the new normal, there are growing calls for the government to do more to ensure the pandemic is contained.
For example, businesses need support to facilitate recovery and continuity. This is partly because most businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises or family-owned businesses, did not have the savings or cash reserves to cushion them from the economic shocks caused by the pandemic.
Yet so far most of the support has been ring fenced for specific sectors that the government considers to have been severely hit by the pandemic — tourism and hospitality sectors.
There is a need for deliberate efforts to extend economic relief to other sectors, including small, family-owned businesses that tend to employ the most vulnerable.
In the new year, the government must spend more to help revive economic activity and save jobs.
More funds have to be allocated to the economic stimulus package and perhaps more importantly, push commercial banks to lend to the private sector.
At the moment, no one knows when the pandemic will end. The recent developments around the Covid-19 pandemic have raised optimism that 2021 will be a better year.
Yet even with this news, it is not clear when the vaccine will be available to ordinary Rwandans.
It was reassuring to hear during last week’s State of the Nation address, commitment from President Paul Kagame that the government is pulling all stops to ensure Rwanda has access to the vaccine. But we know the vaccine is not a silver bullet; we must continue to follow safety guidelines to protect ourselves from catching the virus.
We also hope the respective government agencies that will be involved in managing the vaccine will be fully prepared and ready when it finally arrives.
Despite the incredibly difficult year, we hope you will take the time to reflect and appreciate the small and big things that went right this year.
Special thanks go to our frontline workers whose unwavering commitment has helped us survive the worst of this year’s health crisis.
We are also grateful to the unsung heroes in homes, the caregivers who continue to offer unpaid services during the pandemic.
Whatever your personal circumstances, we wish you and your loved ones are happy festive season and best wishes for the New Year. May 2021 be the year of fulfillment of all the shattered dreams.