The Minister for Infrastructure has ordered Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) to fast-track creation of Single Project Implementation Unit to monitor water supply projects, prevent corruption and ensure proper management of projects.
Minister James Musoni said this while speaking at a retreat that brought together WASAC workforce from across the country, the ministry officials, Police and Auditor-General on Saturday in Kigali.
The retreat, coming on the heels of recent arrest and replacement of WASAC boss James Sano, looked at strategies to enhance professionalism, accountability, change mindset and attitude for better service delivery in water supply.
Participants discussed latest issues highlighted in water sector which include corruption, mismanagement and stalling projects, among others, according to the minister.
Musoni said measures are being taken to improve management of the projects from procurement to implementation process so that citizens can have access to clean water as planned.
Monia Lobga, the procurement services manager at WASAC, said the establishment of the unit was approved earlier this year.
“We meet challenges because we have many projects. We have started recruitment for project implementation unit but we also have projects managers who will work closely. By December, we also expect new systems, software and staff that would help design projects. We will strengthen monitoring and supervision of managers of the projects to avoid corruption,” she said.
The minister admitted that the performance of WASAC is still wanting.
“Not abiding by procurement laws, mismanagement of water projects, failing the target in water revenue collection, lack of professionalism, poor services and untimely reports are still being experienced. Why? It is indifference that must change and supervision is going to be strictly reinforced,” Musoni told the meeting.
He said once single project implementation unit becomes operational, it will help the corporation cope with challenges in projects management.
Projects procurement issues
Meanwhile, Lobga said there are issues in procurement process that need to be addressed.
During the procurement process for water supply projects, there have been many cases of single source procurement approach but the procurement manual should be revised, she said.
Single source procurement is an award for supply of a good or service that can only be purchased from one supplier because of its specialised or unique characteristics.
“With 100 single source procurements that might have been carried out, reports will show where it was unsuitably adopted,” Logba said.
Minister Musoni cautioned against using single source tendering process as a norm though it is legally recognised in some projects, warning that it could trigger more corruption cases.
Sano was recently arrested over illegally awarding single source tender, worth Rwf61 million, to Cerrium Advisory Ltd and illegally awarding a bid for construction of a water pumping station in Kayenzi-Kamonyi, worth Rwf371 million, without a bill of quantity.
Cracking down on indifference
Aimé Muzola , the new WASAC chief executive, said stringent measures would be taken following advice from Police, Office of the Auditor General and the ministry provided during the retreat.
“We also discussed about mismanagement of WASAC property and staff management. All these have also affected service delivery. WASAC is going to step up its performance and service delivery and take measures to avoid recurrence of past mistakes while holding accountable those who committed mistakes,” he said.
George Barigye, the director of Services Support at WASAC, said there has been serious indifference and lack of ownership among staff in managing WASAC projects and property.
“For instance, we could find stock of equipment but not registered in WASAC records while staff had keys for those stores. We have sacked some of those who failed to account and the discipline committee is still conducting assessment on the misuse,” he said.
The Auditor General’s report made public in May this year indicated that WASAC had stock of materials worth Rwf1.3 billion, which had not been put to good use.
It also revealed that a water supply system and tanks were built at Rwf5.9 billion but had stalled for 496 days while two water treatment plants in Nyagatare District lay idle for a whole year without operating.
It also said that non-water revenues are about 42 per cent, which translates to Rwf8.6 billion loss.