Butare downplays SINELAC threats on power cut off

KIGALI - Rwanda has denied reports that it could be disconnected from the regional power utility company Société International d’Electricite des Pays des Grands Lacs (SINELAC) for failure to clear its outstanding arrears. Reacting to recent reports that SINELAC could soon cut off power supply to Rwanda, DRC and Burundi over a debt amounting US $ 90m which accumulated over years, the State Minister for Energy, Dr. Albert Butare said that the reports are ‘untrue’ as the issue of outstanding arrears has been dealt with.
L-R:RECO BOSS: Yves Muyange;NO CAUSE FOR ALARM: Albert Butare
L-R:RECO BOSS: Yves Muyange;NO CAUSE FOR ALARM: Albert Butare

KIGALI - Rwanda has denied reports that it could be disconnected from the regional power utility company Société International d’Electricite des Pays des Grands Lacs (SINELAC) for failure to clear its outstanding arrears.

Reacting to recent reports that SINELAC could soon cut off power supply to Rwanda, DRC and Burundi over a debt amounting US $ 90m which accumulated over years, the State Minister for Energy, Dr. Albert Butare said that the reports are ‘untrue’ as the issue of outstanding arrears has been dealt with.

“The debts are in two different categories. The debt reported here which accumulated during the time of turbulence and war, we agreed as member countries to cancel it,” Butare said in an interview with The New Times.

Butare said that the sum which amounted to US $40m between Rwanda and DRC accrued from 1990’s to 2007 was cancelled and agreed that the countries resume payment in 2008.

“Today Rwanda Electricity Corporation (RECO) owes NELAC about $2m since we started paying back in 2008 and this amount can easily be cleared.” Butare noted.

He said in turn, Finance Ministers from the three countries are in negotiations with the World Bank to cancel a debt SINELAC owes the Bretton woods institution equivalent to the same amount the three countries owe SINELAC. 

Reports indicate that following a general meeting by SINELAC, it was resolved that the 3 countries be given up to September 10, 2009 or they get disconnected.

Butare assured Rwandans that the arrears will not affect power supply to the respective countries, particularly Rwanda as the payments will be settled.

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