2014 Retreat: Government to probe stalled projects

The government has resolved to investigate reasons behind the slow implementation of some significant projects in energy and other sectors and put in place more policies to ensure faster service delivery.
A cross-section of participants at the Leadership Retreat in Gabiro yesterday. Village Urugwiro.
A cross-section of participants at the Leadership Retreat in Gabiro yesterday. Village Urugwiro.

The government has resolved to investigate reasons behind the slow implementation of some significant projects in energy and other sectors and put in place more policies to ensure faster service delivery.

This is part of the 42 resolutions that the officials made yesterday at the closure of the 11th national leadership retreat held at the RDF Combat Training Centre in Gabiro, Eastern Province.

Subject to the imminent investigations is the Kivuwatt project, known  for delaying on its commitment to generate 25MW from methane gas in Lake Kivu in Karongi District, Western Province, as part of the project’s first phase.

At the retreat in Gabiro, patience for Kivuwatt Ltd, a Rwandan subsidiary of an American company, Contour Global, was fading among the country’s top leaders, including President Paul Kagame.

“There is need to investigate this case beyond the ordinary,” Kagame said on the first day of the meeting, essentially ordering the inquiry into Kivuwatt’s delay.

The retreat subsequently resolved to “analyse the challenges that have been noted in the implementation of diffrent projects (like Kivuwatt, highly productive milk cows and other projects).”

The retreat ordered swift steps to address issues behind the stalling of different government projects and hold to account those who are behind the delays.

Officials at Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) told The New Times last August that completion of phase I of Kivuwatt project had been pushed to June this year from June 2013 due to internal mismanagement issues between Kivuwatt Ltd and its sub-contractor Civicon Kenya Ltd.

But Robert Kremer, chief finance officer of Contour Global, declined to discuss the company’s issues in the media, only describing the delay as “a very sensitive matter.”

Phase I of the Kivuwatt project is expected to cost $142 million (about Rwf92 billion) and it will be followed by three more phases expected to produce a total of 100MW, which officials say would boost the target to increase energy production from the current 110MW to 563MW by 2017.

Other stalled projects whose immediate implementation was recommended include projects to construct Bushenge Hospital in Western Province’s Rusizi District, some roads in the City of Kigali, as well as food processing plants.

Policies to be enacted

Many resolutions that were drawn from the retreat are about the need to put in place policies and laws that would ease doing business in the country by facilittaing investors more and ensuring that citizens get better services.

The Rwanda Development Board has been ordered to set up mechanisms to help investors easily send their feedback to the government and regularly produce quarterly and annual ‘Investor Business Report Card’ to ascertain how investors appreciate services they get in Rwanda.

The officials also resolved that should any investor lose money due to public servants’ mistakes, the latter’s institutions will be ordered to foot the bill of the loss.

“We are going to set up a portal to ensure that we monitor investors’ concerns. We will work differently to ensure that we don’t lose any investor to unpredictable regulations,” RDB’s Chief Executive Valentine Rugwabiza told this paper in an interview shortly after the retreat.

In order to improve the healthcare for Rwandans, the retreat decided to put the services of the public health insurance scheme (Mutuelle de Santé) under the management of the Rwanda Social Security Board.

The leaders also resolved to improve the quality of basic education and housing in the country by putting in place Parents and Teachers’ Associations across the country and enact policies to regulate setting up low cost housing in the country.

As more than 250 top government officials ended their three-day retreat under the theme of “Accountable Governance,” President Kagame, who chaired the meeting, advised them to always strive to work hand-in-hand with the private sector.

He said leaders around the world whose governments have led countries to successful economic growth “have explicitly taken the attitude that what’s good for the private sector is also good for government.”

“In designing our policies, we should always involve the participation of the private sector,” Kagame said in his brief closing remarks for the retreat.

Top officials of the Private Sector Federation also participated in the retreat.

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