Businessmen in Rusizi District through the Private Sector Federation (PSF) representation, Business Development Service (BDS), have expressed dissatisfaction with the director general of Magerwa, Louis Benimana.
Benimana early this week asserted that the business community in Rusizi has failed to utilize the Frw1.3b warehouse investment.
In an exclusive phone interview, Moses Bigirabagabo, Rusizi BDS manager, wondered what Benimana’s actual intent was, stating: “To say that Rusizi people were too ambitious to ask for such warehouses that are now lying idle is an inept statement we would least expect from a Magerwa boss.”
Substantiating his criticism, Bigirabagabo insisted the warehouse Benimana is talking about is not yet complete thus it is illogical for him to start engaging in smear campaigns that it is lying idle.
Bigirabagabo admits that there is a complete multimillion Magerwa warehouse on the outskirts of Kamembe town but the road leading to it from the main Rusizi-DR Congo highway is still under construction.
However, the investment is not yet officially open for businessmen to use.
On the other hand, Magerwa has put up another 380sqm warehouse at Kamembe airstrip to handle cargo between that side and Kigali. Asked to clarify if Benimana’s claim that the investment is also underutilized, Bigirabagabo said, “In Rusizi, most cargo is handled by road, thus the other warehouse that is yet to be launched would benefit cargo importers from DR Congo much more than the airstrip warehouse.”
About Magerwa boss’s claim that Rusizi businessmen were overambitious when they said they would buy their own aircraft, Bigirabagabo said, “I cannot completely rule out their ability to do that, but that wasn’t the basic reason for constructing the warehouses in the area.”
However, when The New Times contacted Louis Benimana, he insisted that the warehouses are complete and that the Chairman of PSF Robert Bayigamba visited them and advised Magerwa to consider how they could benefit Congolese businessmen.
“That’s a naked lie; maybe those people are not informed because its Magerwa that constructed the warehouses not BDS, and we know they are complete,” he said on phone.
Imports from Burundi and Eastern DR Congo into Rwanda used to be cleared by Rwanda Revenue Authority and Magerwa from the Kigali warehouse in Gikondo. According to the business community, this was insufficient.