Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has proposed a draft bill that will allow the organization to seek a special status, flexibility to lobby for big deals with a new organizational structure to take decisions independently.
The proposal was tabled on June 29, 2023 by the RDB Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Clare Akamanzi who said that they need more flexibility to meet the institution’s mandate.
Akamanzi said that a new organizational structure would be developed to ensure effective delivery of RDB’s expanding mandates and the Board of Directors would be granted the ability and legitimacy to adjust to institutional challenges in a rapidly-changing economic and business environment.
Key proposed changes and additions in the Law governing the RDB include establishment of RDB as a “specialized organ,” just like some other organs with the same status.
“The objective is to give RDB a status that would enable it to overcome challenges that it currently faces which limits its ability and agility to deliver to its mandate,” Akamanzi said.
A specialized organ can be granted special status based on Article 139, paragraph 5, of the constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 2003 revised in 2015.
The proposal also seeks to grant to the Board of Directors additional responsibilities and powers to enable the organization overcome current challenges restricting its capability and nimbleness to deliver to its mandate.
The bill seeks the parliament to give RDB powers to approve its organizational structure unlike today when it is established by a Prime Minister’s Order.
They also want them to grant the Board of Directors powers to appoint heads of departments and salaries and fringe benefits for employees.
Akamanzi said that this is because the board has no flexibility for instance to hire people to do some jobs and to negotiate big deals with skilled and connected lobbyists who cannot be paid using the current salary structure considering their level of skills and lobby power.
“When it comes to special contracts with big organizations like NBA-, Trace TV, Time magazine- with whom we are soliciting partnership; we find that we need them more than they need us so they need to be exempted from some of the requirements without abusing the government regulations,” Akamanzi said.
As a growing trade and investment arm of the government, RDB also proposes the possibility to transfer the Head office and to establish branches outside Kigali and outside Rwanda, if need be on operational grounds.
The current relevant article of RDB Law is short of mentioning which authority would authorize transferring RDB Head Office anywhere in the country.
“Thus, it is significant to specify which authority has such powers. As a result, we propose it should be approved by the Cabinet,” Akamanzi said.
RDB also said that in the context of its mandate, it is important that it should be the Board of Directors to approve establishing other offices (branches) where deemed necessary as opposed to the current status where it would be done through the Prime Minister’s order.
The proposed draft bill was voted for and sent to the parliamentary committee for review before being approved.