The City of Kigali has said that the increase in the cost of constructing two bridges on Mpazi channel in order to tackle flooding in Nyabugogo commercial area resulted from the abnormally rising rainwater levels in Kigali occasioned by climate change. City officials said this on Thursday, September 16, 2021 during PAC hearings, responding to spending irregularities exposed by the Auditor General’s report on public expenditures for the financial year 2019/2020. The audit carried out in April by the Auditor General noted irregularities in the construction of two bridges. It indicated that on November 06, 2019, the City of Kigali signed a one-year contract of over Rwf2 billion with Signon Corporation Ltd for construction works of the two Mpazi channel bridges, located in Nyarugenge District, Kigali, to mitigate flooding in Nyabugogo commercial area. But, according to the audit, after update of design and Bills on Quantities, on September 01, 2020, the City of Kigali signed a new contract of Rwf7.7 billion with the same firm for construction works of the two bridges. The contract would be executed within seven months. On April 01, 2020, the contract duration was extended by six months to October 01, 2021. However, the audit noted that on April 5 – eight months after signing the new contract – the audit field visit noted that the progress of works was at 56.32 percent and the Contractor was paid over Rwf3.1 billion. Out of the two bridges to be constructed, only one was under construction, while construction works had not yet started for the second bridge. Responding to the raised queries, Merard Mpabwanamaguru, vice mayor in charge of urbanisation and infrastructure in the City of Kigali said that the review of the study on the project mainly resulted from climate change, indicating that rainfall in the City of Kigali almost tripled since 2016 when the initial study was done. He said that the initial study carried out in 2016 was based on a water discharge of 65 cubic metre (m3) per second, adding that it was realised if the project was implemented then, it would only address the problem in a short period. However, he said that the water discharge into the drain increased [by about 70 percent] to 110 m3 per second. This situation, he said, informed the revision of the study for the construction of the channel in order to have a resilient flood protection structure. He said that the revision of the study led to the increase in budget, adding that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) committed some Rwf4 billion. PAC Chairperson, Valens Muhakwa said that there is an issue in the studies which cost money and are approved, yet they do not provide solutions to existing problems, rather end up being changed. “So, does that imply we will be demolishing bridges [and construct new ones] as rain water levels increase, or you should build bridges that can be sustainable in line with the vision of the City of Kigali,” Muhakwa asked the City of Kigali management. “You should think twice about such studies that consume money, but they turn out to be unusable during the implementation phase,” Muhakwa said. After revising the study, Mpabwanamaguru said that “the way the channel is being constructed and the materials used as well as the way it was elevated, will help contain the rising water levels so that they do not flood Nyabugogo area anymore.” “We are pushing so that construction of the bridges be complete by March 2022,” he said. MP Anita Mutesi wanted to know when the additional funding that the City said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning promised to support the implementation of the project will be provided, as well as the expected completion date of the project. Meanwhile, Mpabwanamaguru said that of the Rwf4 billion that MINECOFIN committed to support the project financing, Rwf1 billion has already been provided. In addition, he said, the Ministry promised to provide the remaining amount soon so as to speed up the construction works in order to meet the March 2022 deadline.