The Transport Sector: a key component of actualising

BY GODFREY NTAGUNGIRA The national transport infrastructure is seen as being a critical component meant to realize Vision 2020 goals. The overriding factor is to develop a modern infrastructure system capable of offering  cost effective and quality services with due regard to safety and environmental concerns.  

BY GODFREY NTAGUNGIRA

The national transport infrastructure is seen as being a critical component meant to realize Vision 2020 goals. The overriding factor is to develop a modern infrastructure system capable of offering  cost effective and quality services with due regard to safety and environmental concerns.  

Thus transport infrastructure should be developed in a sustainable manner to support economic growth of the country while serving as a ‘pivot’ for exchange of goods and services at national and regional levels.

The short and medium term economic framework otherwise known as the EDPRS and Vision 2020 looks at infrastructure development as an integral component of undertaking the transformation needed to achieve food security and job creation in the medium to long term. More so infrastructure is seen as key to the acceleration of growth in the productive sectors.

It is a value driver needed to rapidly improve market access, as well as increase access of the rural poor communities to income generating activities. 

Current and previous situations

The estimated percentage of the length of classified roads that are in motorable condition as at 2006 was in the region of 11%. Under the EDPRS objectives, it is envisaged that this figure could be increased to 31% by 2012. Over the past years, the funds allocation to the sector has increased tremendously.

This has greatly boosted the attendant necessity for rehabilitation and maintenance of the national transport infrastructure.

This task is being executed under a programmed approach with a financial instrument also being incorporated for the duration of this programme.

Since 2003 the percentage allocation of the Ministry’s budget to the transport sector has been fluctuating between 47% and 27% (47% in 2003, 51% in 2004, 49% in 2008 and 27% in 2009-Mini). The budget allocation for the transport sector for the first half of 2009 has been reduced by almost 50% when compared with previous years.

Furthermore, when compared to the National Budget, the figure has dropped from 7.7% in 2008 to 4% in 2009.

Assessment of this reduction in capital expenditure for the construction industry on the growth of the economy is  yet to be done, to determine its full implications.

Mission of the Transport Sector

The mission of the transport sector is to contribute towards the realization of the economic development and poverty reduction objectives as formulated in EDPRS by the establishment and rational management of transport infrastructure and services.

This will encourage economic growth and create an enabling environment for the development of socio-economic interactions, employment creation and the well-being of the population. 

Objectives of the Transport Sector

The objective of the sector in the medium term, based on EDPRS (2008-2012), is to reduce constraints to transport in order to promote sustainable economic growth and contribute to poverty reduction. 

The transport sub-sector development consists of 5 sub-programmes: Capacity Building – Institutional and Human Resources; Development of Infrastructure for Opening up the Country; Development and Maintenance of Road Transport; Infrastructure; Regulations and Road Safety; Control of Transport Costs.

The overall execution of the 2008 budget was 99% as at December, 2008. This includes both Recurrent and Development Budget. However, the execution rate of only the Development budget was 102% an excess expenditure of 2%. Projects or outputs which were executed or completed in 2008 are as follows:

Capacity Building
Efforts has been put in place to boost capacity to professionals and officers working under the transport sector in form of further training .

An advanced degree programme (M.Sc course) for 50 graduate civil engineers and training for trainers has been prepared to be effected through an engage framework with an external educational establishment likely to partner with Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

Short-term training courses have been conducted for MININFRA staff at regional and international institutions.

In line with enhancing capacity building the government has established a dedicated road agency – as a national institution focused on developing the road transport sector .This agency is being set up with assistance from the EU.

Further still a decision has been made to create a national transport board and efforts are underway to re-orient the necessary documentation needed to establish such an institution.

Mitigation of Land-Locked Status
• Detailed Design of New Bugesera International Airport – Detailed design of the Airport commenced in 2008 and expected to be completed in early 2010. 
• Isaka – Dry Port Feasibility Study – Commenced in 2008 and completed early 2009, supported by the World Bank.
• Isaka-Kigali/Keza-Gitega-Musongati Railway – Feasibility studies completed end of 2008. Supported by African Development Bank. Study on upgrading of Isaka-Dar es Salaam road is currently underway (co-ordinated by Tanzania).
 
Development and Maintenance of Road Transport Infrastructure
A number of roads under rehabilitation include
• Ruhengeri – Gisenyi Road Rehabilitation – Work ongoing (about 70% complete). Financing gap of Euro5.6million and RwF2.8billion need to be addressed. Project supported by EU. 
• Kigali – Ruhengeri Road Rehabilitation - Documents for works contract awaiting final completion. Project supported by World Bank.
• Gitarama – Ngororero – Mukamira Road Rehabilitation – Works almost at completion for section Gitarama – Ngororero. Project supported by African Development Bank.
o Ngororero – Mukamira road - Procurement process ongoing for works and supervision contract. Project Supported by BADEA, OPEC & Kuwait Fund.
• Kicukiro – Kirundo Road – Works completed. Supported by AfDB, OPEC, and BADEA. 
• Bugarama – Ruhwa Road Rehabilitation - Works yet to commence.
 
Maintenance of Gravel Roads 
o Nyanza – Kibuye – Work at 90% completion
o Nyabikenke – Ndusu - Studies completed
o Gasabe – Rutsiro – Gashubi - Studies completed
o Gashirabwoba – Nyamirundi - Studies completed
• Urban Roads in Various Districts – Works Completed 
 
Regulation and Road Safety
The government engaged consultants to conduct road sign survey which was completed. Findings awaiting implementation.

Control of Transport Costs
• Projects under EATTFP (East African Trade and Transportation Facilitation Project) on course. Project supported by World Bank.
o Procurement of Cargo Scanners on-course, training course on the use of the equipment for RRA officials conducted in China. Scanners were expected to be installed within 1st Quarter of 2009.
o Gatuna One Stop Border Post (OSBP) – EoI’s have been received and a “No Objection” on their evaluation a waited.
o Negotiations ongoing on the establishment of an electronic single window with SGS. 

Externally Funded Projects
The Transport sub-sector has been supported by development partners as follows.
• The Transport sub-sector has been supported by development partners on the capital intensive road rehabilitation and construction projects.
• Lead Donor – EU Currently funding Ruhengeri – Gisenyi Road; Kigali –Gatuna Road earmarked for rehabilitation/periodic maintenance under EU support.
• Kigali-Ruhengeri Road rehabilitation is scheduled to commence mid 2009 under funding from World Bank/IDA.
• M.Sc. Training and the Formulation of Transport Master Plan under WB/IDA funding to commence mid 2009.
• Ngororero – Mukamira Road Rehabilitation – Supported by BADEA. OPEC, Kuwait Fund.
• Rusumo Bridge – Study for the rehabilitation commenced in November, 2008. Funded by RMF. Final Report being reviewed. Support requested from JICA for the proposed Construction of New Bridge & OSBP and is under review.

The Common Performance Assessment Framework (CPAF)

Under the CPAF two main indicators for the transport sector have been registered; improving the condition of the Classified Road Network to good condition from 11% to 31% and improving the condition of the District Road Network to good condition from 15% to 50%. The achievement of the former in 2008 was 18% against a projected target of 16%.

Policy Issues and Conclusions

One important policy objective for transport sub-sector is to reduce the costs of transportation currently pegged at 40% of imported goods. The major transport project meant to contribute to reduction in transport Costs is the railway development, to be executed under a PPP framework.

The Government has so far been effective in implementing the backlog of road rehabilitation works with support of development partners and donors.

Under the principles of decentralisation, districts have been receiving funds direct from the ministry of finance and economic planning for road maintenance activities.

Rwanda’s transportation sector policy is centered on reducing transport costs, increasing mobility for the population, and the supplying of services and transport infrastructure that will facilitate the exchange of goods and services and allow the entire population to improve their standards of life. 

The policy implementation strategies and programmes are motivated by the principal planning instruments that guide the medium and long-term development efforts for the country.

The institutional framework for the implementation of the policy requires the reinforcement of institutional and human resource capacities, which must be accomplished at all levels with in the sector. 

In conclusion, Rwanda envisions her future through the establishment of a viable transport sector, which will be capable of addressing its current and future shortcomings and shall contribute to significant growth and economic development of its economic system in order to achieve the development objectives that are set out in the EDPRS programme and Vision 2020 for the benefit of the Rwandan people.

Ends

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