Lawmakers are working to ensure that all government buildings are insured against mishaps such as fire outbreaks or natural catastrophes like storms.
As the Chamber of Deputies, last week, held an interactive session with the entire staff team, it was reported that about two months ago, a water pipe burst in the Parliament buildings, and water entered a basement area near the House’s core electric installations.
MPs acknowledged that had there been a water and electricity contact, the resulting mishap would have been disastrous.
The Speaker, Rose Mukantabana, said: “We were also informed about the case that it [Parliament] was close to catching fire. It is not a rumour. It really is true. A water pipe had burst, I don’t know exactly where, but it happened.”
Even though the House is insured, Mukantabana said Parliament is pushing to ensure that all other government buildings are insured as well.
A Sonarwa official who preferred anonymity told The New Times that it is important that buildings get insured because “when buildings catch fire, we indemnify them. It means we repair what is destroyed.”
Bruno Rangira, the Director of Media and Communication at Kigali City Council, noted that even though the insurance of government buildings does not fall under the KCC’s docket, they encourage all developers to insure the buildings so as to protect their investments.
Rangira said: “There is no bylaw. KCC doesn’t oblige people. We only encourage them so that they protect their investment in case of fire. It is the Ministry of Infrastructure which is in charge of government buildings.
“But one thing, for sure, is that when one is going to construct a building, we request that people on the site must be insured.”
Alfred Nkusi, the Director of Urban Planning And Housing at the ministry of Infrastructure listed some of the government buildings in the city that are insured.
These are: Telecom House, Amahoro and Nyamirambo stadiums, the Parliament, the Prime Minister’s office, the Rwanda Development Board, the Supreme Court building, the Prosecutor General’s office, as well as the blocs housing the ministries of Local Government, Justice, Education, Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Youth.
These buildings are insured against fire, lightening and explosions, earthquakes, water damage, natural catastrophes like storms and tempest, as well as damage to neighbour’s property.
According to Nkusi, not all government buildings are insured, as desired, because insurers look at the period when the building was constructed.
“There are some that may be overlooked because they are old.”
However, there is also the element of budget constraints, on the part of government.
Nkusi said that this year’s budget set aside Rwf. 150 million for insurance of government buildings. The ministry plans to request for more funds during the usual budget review framework.