President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda is striving to wean itself from donor funds as almost 50 percent of its budget is donor funded. This was said during the current ongoing Ninth Annual Government Leadership Retreat that began on 3rd March 2012 and expected to be adjourning on 7th March 2012.
While addressing the Retreat, Kagame blamed Africans for their woes saying they had accepted to live off other taxpayers’ sweat, and to be dictated to by the west. “I am never comfortable with it…that we sit and expect to live on other people’s generosity,” he said
“That (attitude) is pathetic and even more pathetic when you find it among the so-called politicians and intellectuals,” he said.
The leadership retreat locally known as “Umwiherero” brings together members of cabinet, ambassadors, mayors and heads of key government agencies, as well as senior members of the legislature and judiciary, and representatives of the private sector to discuss about key issue affecting the country.
Kagame said that Rwanda is fighting hard to see that dependence on foreign aid is removed, but added that political leaders were not doing enough and called for more input.
At the retreat, the Head of State advised Rwandans and Africans, in general, to dig deeper and fully take charge of their destiny, without waiting for “lectures” from abroad. He said only then can the continent occupy its rightful place in the community of nations – with dignity.
The Head of State also criticised some African leaders who “detach themselves from their own people”, saying such selfish leaders rest on their laurels assuming everything was fine since they lack nothing themselves.
At the retreat also, President kagame blamed government departments for not increasing budget for the energy sector as had been agreed upon, saying it was the time to fix such weaknesses.
“Why don’t our citizens have electricity?” he posed.
Energy is one of the burning topics for debate at the retreat, along with customer service, job creation, improved healthcare and poverty reduction.
Kagame also took a swipe at those he referred to as “debate professors”, saying endless debates were “useless”, and instead called for actions that will help lift millions of Rwandans out of poverty.
On customer service, Kagame faulted business owners who employ their relatives who are incompetent, instead of hiring qualified personnel. He said such practices were partly to blame for the continued poor customer service culture in the country.
As usual he also criticised clients for “settling for less than what they deserve” by comfortably paying for poor service.
He also expressed frustration at the lack of enthusiasm in the private sector to invest in key areas, saying the government was considering investing in such sectors as energy, and then later sell the assets to private operators.