The Chronicles

Serving Your Right to Know the Truth

  • How to be a SMART Rwandan: 2012

    Kezio-Musoke David takes us through a few business resolutions which could make a real change for the better in the New Year. Some could take years and a great deal of coordination to implement while others could be enacted with just the flick of a pen.

    Acquire a smart phone and probably a tablet
    In 2012 smart phones are definitely going to evolve into pocket-size, convergence centers that enable users take their business content with them.Smart communication, like receiving emails in real time is key to results oriented bosses.

    Tigo Rwanda and MTN Rwanda are selling (among others) three of the world’s most celebrated smartphone brands. They include the BlackBerry, the i-Phone and probably the Samsung Galaxy tabs. Tigo is also selling the i-Pad, while MTN has seriously pushed the Galaxy. Until last year smart gadgets used to be for those who can afford and probably for public servants including cabinet ministers but not anymore. In Rwanda, purchasing of smart gadgets will no longer major on strong brands simply because top-tier manufacturers have now started launching low-cost models. This will ensure that the entire market is catered for in terms of affordability and also in regard to status, age, not forgetting occupation based need..

    Move your business to a digital platform
    Everyone has a Facebook account, everyone is twitting, even President Paul Kagame is doing so. Brands and businesses are making their presence felt on social networks. As the social media landscape becomes more crowded in 2012, businesses will pick their battles and dig in. What used to be simply Facebook and Twitter is now Google+, LinkedIn and who knows what’s next? The New Year is definitely one for photo and video-based social interaction to grow. Given that the camera on your smartphone is almost as good as your actual camera, the multimedia-driven social networks are here to stay and will be an emerging force for brands in 2012. Brands will embrace real time. And while they move to agile marketing and real-time thinking, gone will be the days when it took six months to develop and launch a campaign or five days to answer a disgruntled customer. Brands will master the art of opportunistic marketing and the art of real-time response.

    Buy BK or Bralirwa shares
    By Friday last week, BK and BRALIRWA shares closed at Rwf125 and Rwf325 respectively at the Rwanda Stock Exchange. At the end of formal trading hours, there were outstanding offers of 595,200 BK shares while on the BRALIRWA counter; there were offers of 24,400 shares.

    Let’s start with why one should buy shares in these two entities. Last year, BRALIRWA announced volume growth of 26.3 percent driven by strong growth of the Primus and Mützig beer brands and higher soft drink sales. Revenue grew 26.5 percent, driven mainly by higher volumes. By the end of the year, BRALIRWA was already announcing the payment of an interim dividend of Rwf7.3 per share amounting to Rwf3.7 billion to shareholders.

    BK is, without doubt, the biggest and most profitable bank in Rwanda with total financial assets of Rwf197 billion and profits of Rwf6.179 billion. Buying shares in the country’s biggest corporations gives an immediate source of profits. Shares are the quickest and easiest asset one can own without any intricacies. It is also a way of saving money for the future. And what better way to invest in some of the most profitable companies? Probably 2012 is when you might consider buying shares from either or both.

    Register on a mobile money platform
    After MTN’s Mobile Money, Tigo Rwanda launched Tigo Cash and soon after came two other instant revolutionaries. Bank de Kigali launched ‘Mobiserve’ and thereafter BanquePopularie (BPR) introduced Izi Cash, another way of transferring money in Rwanda in real time. This means mobile money is no longer an exclusive product for telecoms.

    MobiServe and Izi Cash are proudly Rwandan products. One can send money using Izi Cash to a non BPR account holder and they will be able to withdraw transferred amount from BPR ATM machines anywhere in the country without an ATM card. The same goes with BK’s Mobiserve and its amazing! We all know the benefits of mobile money platforms, fast and convenient, but the question is: how much are these benefits worth? For the receiver, there is increasing security, certainty to reduce fraud and charge back risk. For the sender, all payment types are incorporated into a single device. But the main benefit is that with mobile money, one can transfer money seamlessly without expensive wire transfers or cheques. For a frequent banker, the average cost of a wire transfer is Rwf 9000.

    Become your own boss in 2012
    Ever wondered how many billionaires we have in Rwanda? Or maybe, who could be the richest person in the country? Whether we have billionaires or not, it’s embarrassing that the few rich in our society are less of entrepreneurs and hardly own any of their own businesses. They are simply employed. Rwanda’s private sector is still nascent and one can only imagine what would happen, if government decided to take a few days of holiday. Simply put, the economy would stumble. 2012 is probably the year when you might want to be an entrepreneur, start your own business and make a difference to Rwanda’s economic future. It’s disturbing to imagine that up to today, most of the chicken sold in supermarkets and consumed in hotels and restaurant is packed and imported from neighbouring countries. Why not set up a poultry farm that processes and packs chicken? Developing an enterprise which is as small as a piggery or poultry farm is not about signing cheques to gain points. It’s about having a holistic approach. And since it takes only hours to register a business with Rwanda Development Board, this could be your year.

    Cut the costs
    Whether you are running a business or not and you have not given too much thought to what the landscape will look like in 2012, I could save you the time. Let’s start with the global trend. There is the European debt crisis and huge deficit in the US. You might be thinking this has nothing to do with you. Yes, but it’s only the foolish who believe that what is impacting most of the world will not come back to haunt us. It is simply a result of an unavoidable domino effect. With all the knowledge we now have about the global economy, it’s not hard to predict further deterioration in 2012. Therefore, it is better to take action now. Cutting costs can be painful but it reaps immediate results and is under your direct control. An owner or manager needs to eliminate or trim all but the definitively necessary costs during the course of the year.

    Open a US dollar account
    The trends in the global economy definitely diluted the value of the exchange rate. Those who travel regularly and have business interests in overseas must have felt the pinch. However, if one makes regular transactions in US dollars, you may benefit from a US dollar bank account. You’ll also need an account in US dollars if you are paid in the currency.

    The main reason you might want to open a U.S. dollar account is to stockpile the currency while at a favourable exchange rate. While it is a question of whether the dollar will stay at parity, 2012 will certainly be a good time for Rwandans to purchase the greenback, if they intend to use them .The benefits are clear as one can avoid the exchange rates at latter times. With this account in some banks, you can apply for a dollar deferred debit card to withdraw cash or make payments anywhere a VISA sign is displayed worldwide.

    Consider cloud computing
    If you are a big enterprise or government institution investing in technology or upgrading might be your priority for 2012. Businesses should look to the cloud. Allowing software programmes and databases to be accessed via a remote server, cloud computing does away with the need for cumbersome and expensive computer systems. It can be adopted by government. Rather than every ministry running a separate database, a terminal and an access code could link up tax collectors to the payroll department, saving time and money. In the private sector, a cloud would allow companies to concentrate in-house on what they are good at.

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  • Like the phoenix, Amavubi rises again

    In the recent past, concerns circulated that local football and particularly, the national team Amavubi was done to death.

    That was then followed by resignations of top officials of the football governing body, FERWAFA. Thereafter, a new team headed by the now president of FERWAFA Celestin Ntagungira took office, and theirs was a big task of bringing sanity to local football and restoring the national team’s former glory; besides hope.
    So far, the new team seem to be getting things right as Amavubi is back winning games. According to the FERWAFA boss, coordination between the Ministry of Sports, FERWAFA, the new head coach, the technical bench, the medical team and the players was the major reason for the recent changed fortunes of Amavubi. This is a strategy the new team had to come up with since by the time he took office, there was no proper coordination among the afore-mentioned entities.
    The other factors that he says contributed to Amavubi’s changed fortunes as witnessed lately including reaching the finals of last month’s CECAFA’s Senior Challenge Cup, include the motivation of players by giving them reasonable salaries and wages and proper selection of players for national duty. He further adds that these cannot be achieved without proper management.
    As the team prepares for the World Cup qualifiers, fans hope that the team does them proud by making a maiden appearance in the Brazil 2014 global soccer extravaganza.

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  • Rudasingwa was an RPF imposter, Gahima changed – Sen. Tito

    Senior Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) member, Senator Tito Rutaremara has told The Chronicles that the former Director of Cabinet in the President office, Dr. Théogene Rudasingwa,

    at one time a senior cadre now turned dissident had joined the party pretending to have given up fighting the RPF and fighting only to liberate the country but in reality he had other motives. Tito was responding to the claim made by the three RPF dissidents of Rudasingwa, Gerard Gahima and Kayumba Nyamwasa that the party has changed and turned dictatorial.

    The Senator stated: “Rudasingwa was initially not in RPF. He was in FROLINA, a party that was fighting RPF during 80s as an executive member. He later joined RPF in 1990 when we started the war” Rutaremara added, “When we were together, I thought he [Rudasingwa] had changed because before that, he was bad [mannered] creating animosity within the RPF.

    Did he change? We thought he [had] changed when he joined us but he simply did not.” With regard to Gahima and Kayumba, Tito stated, “Gahima changed but Kayumba was not [part of the original RPF founders]. Gahima I can say he changed because Kayumba came in 1990 [from Northern Uganda where he was based] but Gahima started with RPF, we started together”.

    Tito notes that “Gahima may have played a key role in the formation of the party but he seemed to have ulterior motives.” In an exclusive interview with The Chronicles, he said that RPF welcomes anyone willing to join the ruling party regardless of one’s former affiliations. Rutaremara is, however, insistent that Rudasingwa duped the party.

    Senator Tito says that the liberation struggle brought together people of varying opinions and agendas, using the analogy of separating the grain from the chuff. He says some of the RPF members lost the true sense of the liberation struggle as vanguards of the party and says this normally happens. To illustrate, he compares a revolutionary party to a bus where some of the passengers disembark while others bode.

    “It is like a bus coming from Butare for example. When it reaches Save some [passengers] get out, others try to come up to Gitarama and when they see they are no longer useful, they get out. When others arrive at Giti cy’Incyoni, they say they want to get [a] higher pay, or head a good ministry and then [when they do not get their way, they] get out,” he narrates.

    For Rutaremara, party members with great determination to liberate the country are still in the party working hard to put in place party structures and laying the foundation for an institution governed country. He, says that the problem with former party members like Rudasingwa and Gahiman is caused by a vice common in liberation movements where while many party members fight for the total liberation of the country, a few fight in order “to liberate themselves by simply getting a good job or draw a good salary”

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  • Polygamy should be legalised-says Minister Fazil

    THE MINISTER For Internal Security, who is also the President of the Idealist Democratic Party (PDI), Fazil Harerimana has said that polygamy should be legalised in Rwanda

    and that his party supports the move. This would mean amending the constitution and the law on marriage regimes to pave way for a man to legally marry more than one woman.Article 26 of the 2003 Rwandan constitution provides for one-man one-woman in marriage. It states; “Only monogamous marriages shall be recognised within the conditions and forms prescribed by law.” The above provision also cemented the law on marriage regimes of 1999 which stipulates that marriage is a union between a single man and a women with both having equal rights in marriage.

    In an exclusive interview with The Chronicles on November 2, 2011, the president of PDI, formerly the Islamic Democratic Party said; “Our party proposed to parliamentarians to vote for a law legalising polygamy, but our idea was not supported. We believe however, that time will come when the law will be voted on Rwandans demand”.

    According to Harerimana, “the world changes constantly and people accept an idea which had earlier been rejected through discussion”. Without supporting it, the example he gave to validate his party’s strategy to patiently wait for a time when their view would eventually be accepted is homosexual marriages which he said had been discussed in many [mainly European] countries and rejected but later accepted. Minister Harerimana’s view, which he shares with his party, is that “polygamy would be legalised one day as it was in ancient times where having only one woman was not dictated by law.” Islam, his religion also accepts polygamy.

    Despite his optimism however, Harerimana’s quest for polygamy is likely to remain a wish in the largely Christian and overpopulated Rwanda in the age of gender equality. Other important issues raised by Hon Harerimana include rejecting the claim that RPF controls PDI and other parties made by some organisations as contempt of their parties. He also rejected claims made by a former US ambassador to Rwanda in a cable published by whistleblower website Wiki-leaks as uninformed and reading from the old history of Rwandan leadership.

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