At least Rwf1 billion has been paid to over 5,500 people bordering national parks whose crops were damaged by wild animals.
Officials from the Special Guaranty Fund (SGF) announced last week at a meeting with various stakeholders in Kigali.
The discussions brought together different stakeholders, including leaders of various sectors bordering national parks in the country, insurance companies, Police and Rwanda Social Security Board, among others.
It was, however, noted that timely compensation remains a sticking point as complainants find it difficult to reclaim the money for their properties.
Aimable Nsengimana, the Executive Secretary of Kinigi Sector, which borders Volcanoes’ National Park in Musanze, said people spend a lot of money in transport to Kigali before securing their compensation.
Speaking at the event, Dr Joseph Nzabonikuzo, the Director General of SGF, attributed the delays to time taken to verify people’s claims.
He called on local leaders to always share unbiased information on damages in time to facilitate speedy compensation process.
“We have no pending cases so far not solved because of staff shortage. What still matters is communication from local leaders who we depend on for information regarding damages,” Dr Nzabonikuzo told The New Times on Friday.
“That is why local authorities need to share information with us to avoid compensation delays caused by late communication,”
He added that they are conducting public awareness, through TV, radio talk shows and other channels of communication, to make sure people get clear information on compesation process.
He urged affected people to report to local authorities whenever their properties are damaged in order to be compensated in time.
However, he maintained that the government was committed to finding a lasting solution to avoid spending funds in compensation.
“The government cannot afford to continue paying people whose properties are damaged by wild animals as a priority. The best option is to find a durable solution to avoid such payments, this money could be allocated to other development activities,” he added.
Nsengimana, said the fund helped contain hostility between people and conservationists.
“We are happy that the fund addressed people’s frustrations through compensation because it was difficult to know where they can claim for damages for their properties before the fund came in place,” he said.
Asked about delayed communication from local authorities, Nsengimana said it was caused by delays in obtaining full information about damages.
But he believes the issue could soon be solved since the fund has established an online declaration portal for people with claims.