MPs question ‘shoddy’ road works
Members of Parliament on Monday tasked officials from the Ministry of Infrastructure (Mininfra) to put in place measures to check poor road construction and shoddy repairs on the existing road network.
The MPs are concerned such practices are costing the country a lot yet its budget is already constrained.
They patch up parts of the roads, even in the city here, but after a few months, they are impassable
This came up as officials from the ministry presented their 2012/13 budget allocations to the Chamber of Deputies’ standing committee on budget and national patrimony.
The officials including Minister of Infrastructure, Albert Nsengiyumva, told the session that key among the ministry’s priorities is improving transport infrastructure and services in order to increase mobility and access to efficient transport services.
This was in addition to improving road safety, and developing a network of transport infrastructure which will allow the opening-up of the country.
Dr. Alexis Nzahabwanimana, the Minister of State in Charge of Transport, particularly noted that maintenance and repair of the country’s roads – paved and unpaved – is an earlier overlooked aspect that is now a top priority.
After initial presentation by the officials, MP Marie Rose Mureshyankwano raised concerns over what she said was a questionable trend, whereby road repairs, especially in the city, are substandard.
“They patch up parts of the roads, even in the city here, but after a few months, they are impassable. I link this with the issue of roads that are poorly constructed, for example the Karongi-Muhanga road. When you look at the work done, it appears they are just making patches. Money is wasted and the road is destroyed,” she said.
On the same matter, apart from the long delay of the 35 kilometre Rwamagana-Zaza road, MP Charles Kamanda also highlighted sloppy road repairs on the Ngoma-Kayonza-Gahini highway.
Nsengiyumva told the session that local authorities in the districts where roads pass ought to be involved in keeping an eye on road works as the ministry cannot ably do that.
“There are cases where a contractor may use substandard equipment but people just do nothing about it...this cooperation is something we should enhance so that it helps us make progress,” Nsengiyumva noted.
Dr. Nzahabwanimana said local administrative authorities are being engaged in monitoring road works.
“For shoddy work, we have set up laws granting local government to have oversight of the projects in their respective jurisdictions. The law gives them responsibility in terms of contract management. What they only require from us is technical support to carry out the supervisory role,” Nzahabwanimana said, adding that the ministry had already made arrangements to avail an engineer to every province.
“We even set up the district support unit comprising of engineers who will advise districts on such matters.”
According to the 2012/13 budget estimates highlighted by the ministry, out of Mininfra’s total Rwf 291.3 billion budget share, the transport sector, through the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA), was allocated Rwf 117.9 billion. Energy was given Rwf 128. 2 billion while water and sanitation have Rwf 20.3 billion.
Transport sector priorities in the current budget include: rehabilitation of the Kitabi-Crete Congo or Nil road (30Km) and the Kigali-Gatuna road (77.8km); work on the Kivu-Belt lots (66 km), Rubengera-Gisiza Road (24Km) and Gisiza-Gisenyi Road (47.9Km); demarcation of road reserves on the national road network; the One Stop Border post at Gatuna and Kagitumba borders and an access road to Tumba College.
Other projects include detailed designs for an access road to Bugesera Airport – a two kilometre road proposed between Kabuga and Nyamata; supplying and installing four weighbridges stations and the completion of the Isaka-Kigali-Keza-Gitega-Musongati railway detailed engineering design.
The committee is still hearing from various ministries on how they spent their previous allocations, details on the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF), gender budget statements, what was planned and achieved in their previous budget and challenges encountered.
Contact email: james.karuhanga[at]newtimes.co.rw