KIREHE - People living at the Rusumo border post have appealed to the government to connect them to the national electric grid.
Talking to The New Times, yesterday, at the Tanzania- Rwanda border, a number of traders said that their businesses have been affected by the lack of electricity in the area.
“We are supposed to be doing business 24 hours a day. The border is supposed to be busy all the time but because we only depend on sunlight, we are limited,” Alex Musana a businessman operating at the border said.
Mariya Mushimiyimana, 38, who regularly visits the border for her commercial transactions, told this paper that customs offices also close early when traders want to clear their merchandise.
“The businesspersons passing at this point find it unfriendly, to be served in just 12 hours. I sometimes ask myself why they can’t use the Rusumo falls just near here, to generate power,” she said.
Customs officials also acknowledged the dire need for power, calling for government intervention.
They added that power will provide security for goods and trucks, which park at night at the border.
“There is need for power to enhance security of these fuel tanks and other goods. This is a vital border post that generates a lot of money, so investing in power would be appropriate,” said one official who never wanted his names mentioned because he does not speak for the customs.
Contacted for comment, Benson Muhikira, the Kirehe vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs, said plans are under way to extend power to the border.
“Electricity is a few kilometres away from the border, at a place called Rwanteru. Soon it is going to reach the border.
Possibilities to exploit Akagera River falls are also under consideration,” he said.