The sale of district stake in Burera College of Trades (BCT), and Burera Beach Resort is awaiting Cabinet approval, in a bid to hand over the two facilities to the private sector for better output, district officials have said. BCT accommodates both a garment textile plant and an Integrated Craft Production Centre commonly known as Agakiriro. District officials confirmed this on Tuesday, September 20, while appearing before the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to cases of public asset mismanagement raised in the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2020-2021. The AG’s report showed that Burera College of Trades investment is Rwf770 million, of which, the district’s stake accounts for over Rwf429 million. But, when the auditors inspected this facility in January 2022, they found it still faced with problems including the venture being unable to work [effectively] since it was registered on November 6, 2014. According to the “request for proposals to acquire 55.8% government shares in Burera College of Trades (“BCT”)”, by Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the facility is a joint initiative bringing together the public and private sectors. It is meant for, among other purposes, offer trade skills development in tailoring, carpentry, construction, welding and plumbing; as well as run a regional class uniforms production factory. The shareholding structure is 55.8 per cent Government and 44.2 per cent Noguchi Holdings. Noguchi Holdings is a local company created in 2013 and has partner companies in Tokyo (Japan) and Kigali (Rwanda) with partner companies in Washington (US), Africa and in Asia. Also, the AG found that a sawing machine that was bought by the District for Rwf265 million was lying idle at the facility. The effects caused by this situation include absence of jobs that would benefit some residents, and that people who would get a market for raw material supply lack such an opportunity. MP Christine Bakundufite expressed worry over the value of the buildings that might have depreciated over eight years without being used, and the idle sawing machine. “Will we recoup this investment,” she asked Burera District leaders, wanting to know whether the Government will not incur loss on the venture. Burera District Mayor, Marie-Chantal Uwanyirigira told The New Times that Burera College of Trades was intended to promote employment and create jobs for the youth. She said that the Agakiriro part of the facility is currently operational, while the district was unable to utilise the textile factory mainly because of lack of the required skills to run it – despite having a partner that has expertise in the garment industry. Meanwhile, in 2020, it was reported that the factory lacked financial capacity to enable its operations. Through the discussions with other public entities, Uwanyirigira said, they agreed that the district shares be privatised so that it is run by an entity with the required skills. “The developments are in the advanced stages. We are waiting for a Cabinet decision to sell our shares. We hope that after handing over our shares to the private sector, it will yield better results, and help youth get jobs, especially because there are some young people who were trained in tailoring,” she said. “So, we think this is what will be profitable. And, what we wish as a district is not to be a shareholder or have a stake in the factory, rather to have the factory in the district running. The benefits we will get include that the operator will pay taxes to the Government, and our youth will get jobs,” she said. Burera Beach Resort Also, the district invested over Rwf554 million in Burera Beach Resort, which the AG report said was not productive. Again, the district spent nearly Rwf100 million on equipment for the Beach Resort in 2019. This brought the total investment in this hospitality facility to over Rwf654 million. MPs wanted to know the current state of these facilities in question. MP Bakundufite said that the Auditor General started exposing issues about the Burera Beach Resort in 2017, pointing out that the fact that the issue has been recurrent in the Auditor General’s reports for about five years so far. “Hasn’t anything been done so that this project does not come again [in the Auditor General’s report]. For me, five years is a long period,” she said, asking the district leaders to allay concern on the over Rwf650 million invested in it so far. Uwanyirigira said that Burera Beach Resort privatisation has so far gotten a successful bidder, who is “accustomed to the Burera District environment’, and is already in hotel ventures in the district such that it has hope the business will be effective. MP Jean Claude Ntezimana said that the privatisation of the facilities should ensure that the Government gets back at least the investment it made in them, indicating that the value of the land [on which facilities are set up] and other inputs, has been rising over years.