Members of Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies have embarked on a three-week outreach tour to assess the implementation of some public projects with a view to be proactive in preventing their mismanagement or funds misuse, The New Times has learnt. The countrywide tour runs up to December 4. According to a statement from Parliament, the tour is expected to reach all sectors across all districts, with the objective of overseeing programs of the Government of Rwanda responding to the needs of citizens in general and special categories of people including youth, women, people with disabilities and the elderly. Among other activities to be assessed by Members of Parliament, are projects that promote the livelihood of citizens and special groups of people in particular; technical and vocational schools; socio-economic development initiatives; and cooperatives of the youth, women, and people with disabilities. Furthermore, Deputies will interact with citizens on various socio-economic issues. Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Edda Mukabagwiza told The New Times that the selected projects were discussed by Chamber of Deputies’ Standing Committees, where the MPs sought information from public entities responsible for their implementation, by considering aspects including project timeframe, its total cost, the allocated budget, and the remaining part. “We want to see whether the funds that were allocated to the projects are being used, and establish whether they are on track, or were delayed,” she said, adding that they also want to look at TVET schools. “We want to assess their (TVET schools) performance, whether they are providing employment to our youth who were enrolled in them, and bringing about improvement in our youth [’s welfare],” she said. Mukabagwiza said that accountability will be factored in during the project scrutiny. “There are even some projects that have connections with the reports that the Auditor General submitted to us. If we realise that there are issues that require summoning a minister, we summon him/her to explain to us about those projects,” she said, indicating that when they find that there are issues that need recommendations to the Government, they will make them and forward them to the Prime Minister to solve them. The projects targeted by the MPs’s oversight include the following: Nyabarongo II hydropower project The 43.5MW Nyabarongo II hydropower plant was expected to be in operation in five years – from 2019 to 2024 – at a cost of $214 million. This is a loan that the Government of Rwanda got through a loan agreement it signed with China Exim Bank (Export-Import Bank of China), in line with the implementation of the project. Its construction tender was awarded to China’s SynoHydro Corporation Ltd. However, according to information from the Rwanda Energy Group (REG), its construction kicked off on May 21, 2022, which implies its completion faces a delay. The reason for the project inspection is to observe the progress of its construction, and fair compensation payments for residents’ expropriated properties. Manufacturing Growth Project The project aims at constructing two Advanced Factory Units. It is located in Gasabo District, Ndera Sector. According to Parliament, it was indicated (by responsible officials) that there were no challenges affecting its implementation, apart from the Covid-19 pandemic setback. However, Parliament said that over Rwf5 billion had already been spent on the project, yet, they later provided information that the amount already spent was over Rwf4.2 billion. According to MPs, there is a need to know the genesis of the over Rwf769 million between the two varying figures. Again, the lawmakers want to understand why there is an inconsistency in the total project costs shared by the officials, where one figure suggested over Rwf18.6 billion, while another suggested over Rwf8.6 billion. Development of Fuel Storage facilities According to legislators, the information provided on this fuel storage facilities project is inadequate, and there is a need to visit it in order to find out whether the budget of over Rwf20 billion that has already been spent on it corresponds to its reported 55 per cent execution rate. The project is located in Gasabo District’s Rusororo Sector. Development of Maritime Transport Infrastructures and Services Legislators expressed concern that the information shared by officials in charge of this Development of Maritime Transport Infrastructures and Services project was insufficient, hence attracting their scrutiny. Their visit to the project site seeks to find out why the budget that had already been used on the project amounted to over Rwf2.2 billion, according to the shared data, which is almost double the amount shown later – over Rwf1.2 billion. The project seeks to develop maritime transport in the Eastern part of Rwanda – along Lake Kivu – in the districts of Rubavu, Rusizi, Karongi, and Rutsiro (Nkora Cell). Also, the MPs want to know whether a detailed feasibility study was conducted for the two ports of Karongi and Nkora, whose construction was put on hold with officials claiming that they were still looking for the funds for that activity. Construction of 35 houses in Rweru IDP Model Village Again, MPs exposed that the information shared for this project implemented by the Bugesera District, in Rweru Sector, is not enough. They said that officials cited a concern of budget constraint where the funds needed to expropriate residents’ properties were not enough as only Rwf1 billion was allocated, which is less than half of the required Rwf2.4 billion. But, MPs said that they want to understand why the district officials needs an ‘additional’ budget of Rwf1.4 billion, because during the budget hearing with the Committee [on National Budget and Patrimony], on May 25, 2022, they indicated that Rwf1 billion was needed to relocate residents at Sharita Island. Automated Driving License Testing Center Phase IV The Automated Driving License Testing Center Phase IV project consists of two parts which are the civil works (completed), and the software that is at the final stage. According to lawmakers, officials indicated that the remaining work for this software component is the integration of the technology of the Rwanda National Police, the Irembo e-Government service portal, and the National Identification Agency (NIDA) so that it is able to operate and share information among the three concerned entities. They said that the visit to this project was needed in order to reconcile the shared information and the works done. It is located in Kicukiro District, Kanombe. This centre is considered a one stop facility that could eliminate human contact by introducing a completely computerised system of sitting both theoretical and practical driving tests – such as through the use of an array of sensors and high-resolution cameras that track applicants and automated marking system based on their performance. It was expected that the centre would be ready (operational) in June last year.