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Restructured PPD to boost doing business

> 13 January 2015

Through a well structured PPD, both government and private sector are expected to address challenges hindering economic growth.

The business community is optimistic that the new Public Private Dialogue structure (PPD) will enhance doing business between the Government and the private sector.

This follows government’s efforts to unveil a more inclusive PPD which is expected to help boost cooperation between government and the private sector.

The new structure seeks to address challenges such as lack of consistent organisational leadership that impedes detailed dialogue between the public and private sector.

It will also empower the PPD secretariat at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and provide concrete action plans that will aid the private sector to deliver on its economic objectives.

Unlike the old structure, the new one also allows the secretariat and Joint Advisory Board made of RDB and the Private Sector Federation to manage issues that require national attention that were not resolved by the primary RPPD organs for presentation at the PPD Summit.

Under the new structure, RDB will coordinate the public sector stakeholders and help them to accomplish their agreed milestones; while PSF does the same for those action points agreed to be accomplished by the private sector.

This structure, according to Francis Gatare, the RDB chief executive officer, will not only help streamline PPD but also make it more responsive and action-orientated to create a robust impact on the country’s economic growth.

“We know and appreciate the importance of PPD; we are already seeing the results the initiative is bringing to our economic growth. Government will continue working with the private sector through PPD and other channels to provide a conducive business environment.”

“And as we move towards becoming a middle income country, we will work even harder to develop a more sustainable competitive economy that will benefit all Rwandans,” says Gatare.

According to Gatare, government of Rwanda has come up with a number of initiatives such as the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Private Public Dialogue mechanism and strengthening higher learning institutions and human capacity to support the country’s economic agenda.

Daniel Nkubito, RDB’s expert on PPD and coordinator of Public Private Dialogue Unit, said there is hope that, through a joint secretariat, the new structure is proving to be an effective machine.

“Both in terms of influencing decision making, coordinating research and most importantly availing a platform that is well designed that will push stakeholders towards successful outcomes.”

Today, government through its planning process, is initiating budgetary processes where the challenges and needs are highlighted beforehand such that the planning process can respond to the needs of the versatile business atmosphere, Nkubito said.

Gerald Mukubu, the PSF acting chief executive office, is confident that getting both PSF and RDB on the same table will help leverage opportunities to scale up public and private sector investments.

“With only three years left for Rwanda to become a middle income economy, as enshrined in the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategic (EDPRS II), there is growing debate about which areas to put more emphasis. It is therefore important that for the private sector to take the driver’s seat, PPD must be re emphasized”.

“It is through this coordination that a strong debate to influence decisions will be generated,” Mukubu said.

“When you look at the country’s vision 2020 and EDPRS II, the role of the private sector towards economic development and sustainability becomes clear.

It’s important that we create a more sustained public private sector dialogue to make this economic dream a reality,” Francois Kanimba, the minister of Trade and Industry, noted.

PSF’s Benjamin Gasamagera

According to David Primack, an economist and executive director for the international Lawyers and Economists Against Poverty, public private sector dialogue is fundamental for any modern economy.

“It’s a fundamental tool in the tool box for government to engage the private sector, so that they can be able to identify those areas where they can partner and work together; but most importantly work towards addressing those constraints that are acting as impediments to the progress of the private sector.”

As the private sector grows in Rwanda, the business community increasingly demands more access to and influence over the changing regulatory landscape.
In fact, many analysts believe that through PPDs, government will be able to understand the kind of incentives to offer to the private sector.

Some business analysts believe that to resolve some of the bottle necks faced by the private sector, government has to think like a business person.
“Because it’s not about, building infrastructure but rather how this infrastructure will respond to private sector’s needs; and the only way you can do this is through PPD,” Steve Mutabazi, chairman Africa Olleh Services, said.

“Government must think like a private investor to fast track economic development; you don’t simply give incentives and stop there. However by thinking like an investor you will be able to fully appreciate what it is those investors want.”

Published: January 06, 2015
By: Peterson Tumwebaze
The New Times Rwanda