The Rwanda Parliament has approved new changes in responsibility and autonomy inside the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) which gives the institution a special status that allows it make its own decisions and regulating its business activities.
The draft bill was initially tabled on June 29, 2023, by the former RDB Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Clare Akamanzi who said that they needed more flexibility to meet the institution’s mandate.
This bill, with four chapters and 35 articles approved this October 9, 2023, allows the government investment agency to acquire a special status, and flexibility to lobby for big deals with a new organizational structure to make decisions independently.
The major changes will see RDB allowed to have its Board of Directors have the authority to establish a branch (s) abroad even in countries where there the country has embassies.
MP Theogene Munyangeyo, the Chairperson of the parliamentary Committee on Economy and Trade that presented the final bill said that the committee was concerned of why the need to establish RDB branches in other countries when the embassies can do it.
The RDB Deputy CEO, Nelly Mukazayire responded that usually the institution works with commercial attachés at the Rwandan embassies and that this cooperation will continue through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in case of investment opportunities.
The new bill allows the Head office of RDB, currently located in the City of Kigali, to be relocated elsewhere on the territory of Rwanda, if necessary, upon approval by an Order of the Prime Minister compared to the provisions bill where this was decided by the Cabinet meeting.
In a similar context, RDB is now allowed to or may have branches elsewhere in the country and abroad, if necessary, in order to fulfil its responsibilities, upon approval by the Board of Directors.
The bill also gives RDB the powers to make and publish instructions with regard to the performance of responsibilities, and set its own procurement rules and regulation in the interest of the country’s development
However, the bill clarifies holding accountable its members of the Board of Directors- for example it will, without prejudice to the penal provisions, penalize members of the Board of Directors involved in the mismanagement of RDB or who cause losses (either individually or collectively for their respective defaults, with the exception of the member who had expressed dissident opinion and this was recorded in the minutes for the related meeting.
The new bill, with 31 new articles which was voted by all MPs, also gives RDB as a legal personality to enjoy administrative, financial and human resource management autonomy; however RDB will be under the supervision of the Office of the President.
MP Munyengeyo said that the specification was added since the agency already has a spot in the Cabinet meetings.
The parliamentary committee also stated they agreed to scrap some irrelevant articles. For example, article 30, and 32 which were on Value for money, employment of the agency’s staff which the committee found had already been indicated in the powers of the agency.