Rwanda: Public Broadcaster Bill Finally Passed

Regulation & Policy

The Chamber of Deputies has finally passed a Bill that seeks to transform the state-owned Orinfor into a public broadcaster called the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA).

Lawmakers on Monday unanimously approved a report from the joint Senate-Chamber of Deputies committee headed by MP Yvonne Uwayisenga that ironed out lingering issues especially on three Senate amendments previously contended by the Chamber of Deputies.

Presenting the report, Uwayisenga, who is deputy chairperson of the standing committee on political affairs and gender, told Parliament that issues were discussed and collectively approved.

One of the outstanding issues, she said, was on Article 8: Members of the Board of Directors.

"After amendment, the clause was revised as thus: The Board of Directors of RBA shall be the highest governing organ of RBA. It shall comprise seven members with skills, knowledge and integrity. At least thirty percent of the members of the Board of Directors must be women."

"A Presidential Order shall appoint members of the Board of Directors of RBA including a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson after approval by Cabinet and after selection through a transparent process," said Uwayisenga.

The clause also stipulates that members of the board shall be selected from the civil society and private sector; and they will be appointed for a three-year term, renewable once.

Orinfor has been operating the national radio and television, two newspapers and a printing press, will relinquish the print section once it becomes RBA.

On May 17, the House's standing committee on budget and national patrimony told managers of the yet to be legally instituted RBA that it must be productive and quickly wean off the central government budget.

This was as the committee considered the agency's proposed budget allocation of Rwf1.3 billion out of Minaloc's total Rwf51 billion budget for the fiscal year 2013/14.

James Keruhanga 29 May 2013