Govt to hand over biogas projects to local authorities early next year

Districts should take full ownership and management of bio-gas projects if they are to realise their objectives and benefit Rwandans, James Musoni, the Minster for Infrastructure, has said.
Construction works of the digester chamber for a fixed dome bio-gas plant. Biogas will play a key roel in reducing pressure on the country’s forests.
Construction works of the digester chamber for a fixed dome bio-gas plant. Biogas will play a key roel in reducing pressure on the country’s forests.

Districts should take full ownership and management of bio-gas projects if they are to realise their objectives and benefit Rwandans, James Musoni, the Minster for Infrastructure, has said. 

“We need to come up with a clear document on standards, especially how bio-gas digesters should be constructed as soon as possible. This will make it possible for the central government to hand over the projects to districts early next year. It is important that districts to take full ownership of these projects and set aside budget allocations for them,” Musoni said.

He added that there is need to ensure consistence in the way “we implement infrastructure projects so that the projects benefit citizens”.

Musoni was speaking during a two-day retreat attended by officials from the infrastructure and local government ministries, policy-makers, governors and district leaders in Kigali on Sunday.

The meeting discussed mechanisms of expediting infrastructure projects in the remaining three years to implement second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) projects.

Musoni also warned he will blacklist inefficient contractors involved in bio-gas projects for failure to deliver on time or compromise quality.

“We need to identify these people and blacklist them…Time is not on our side, we must move fast and have these projects implemented. We will put in place a monitoring team to ensure that what we have agreed on here is implemented by concerned agencies and districts,” Musoni told Business Times on the sidelines of the retreat at the Rwanda revenue Authority hall.

Currently, the Ministry of Infrastructure through Rwanda Energy Group is handling the projects, so the ministry hopes decentralising the programme will make it more effective.

According to Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, the chief executive of Rwanda Energy Group, there is need to conduct massive training on making and maintenance of bio-gas plants, as well as how to make improved cooking stoves at district level. “This will help build skills and expertise needed to expedite the project both at the district and sector levels,” Mugiraneza said.

Government will also allocate at least one expert from Rwanda Energy Group to each district to help co-ordinate the exercise across the country, he added.

Mugiraneza said there is need to harmonise interest rates within saving and credit institutions (Umurege Saccos) so Rwandans can acquire biogas equipment.

Meanwhile, district leaders complained about the mode in which some of the bio-gas projects are being installed.

“Some of them were constructed long ago and are not working. Therefore, we will need to evaluate the project, especially the status of the bio-gas construction before local authorities can take full ownership,” Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana, the mayor of Nyamasheke District, said.

Musanze District mayor Winifride Mpembyemungu said there is need to work towards boosting local production of modern cooking stoves.

business@newtimes.co.rw

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