The national energy sector targets have been and will always be ambitious, given the role of the sector in socio-economic transformation of the country. Electricity for example is key in boosting the productivity of key growth sectors such as mining, agro-processing, construction and the service sector.
To ensure all potential beneficiaries get access to reliable and affordable access to electricity, more power stations have to be built while the transmission and distribution network has to expand to the countryside. In all this, land is the prime factor of production and the people that are asked to relocate are compensated for their land used.
Rwanda Energy Group (REG) acknowledges the existence of a backlog of files waiting for expropriation and has already set a clear plan to ensure that these claims are all cleared.
“By the end of January, we had a total of 13,935 pending files, at different levels, some at districts being counter-checked, others being verified at REG level while the rest are already transmitted to the Ministry of Finance for payment” says the REG Chief Executive Officer.
Some 3,560 claims have since been paid. Further, more than 5,372 are being processed to be ready for payment at various levels for compliance to requirements, a process after which payment is initiated.
Citing the causes that delay the expropriation process, REG mentioned that some claimants are always fond of missing necessary details. Some provide wrong or inactive account numbers, others provide account numbers of their relatives, while others provide incomplete files missing documents such as IDs and copies of land certificates, which makes their files queried. As a result, some payments are bounced, delaying their final compensation. A total of 650 claims were for example queried and sent back to Districts for correction of errors or provision of missing documents, delaying their final settlement.
It is important for the beneficiaries to always be ready with necessary support documents such as their own National Identity Cards, Active Bank Accounts, proof of land or property ownership for those whose property are to be affected among others. Local leaders can play an active role in this joint sensitization as we aim to speed-up the settlement process for People Affected by the energy projects.
As a long-term strategy to control developments around expropriation once and for all, REG is developing an IT-based database of all cases related to expropriation, old and new. The database will be accessible by the public, who should be able to trace the level at which their claims are being processed wherever they are, without necessarily having to queue at REG headquarters.
Other than coming to REG head offices from afar, beneficiaries would instead visit our respective branches present in all districts for information on how far settlement of their claims will have gone. “We expect this tool to be fully functional before the end of the current financial year” said the CEO of REG.
Currently, total access to electricity (on-grid and off-grid) stands at 42.3% of all households in Rwanda. As per the country’s 7-year electrification target, all Rwandan households by end of the year 2024. REG thence requests all citizen who are or will be affected in due course to accurately provide all required information and documents for their compensation to be processed in due time.