The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) terminated the employment of 64 workers, scaling down its staff to 103.
The move is part of an ongoing restructuring process recently approved by the Cabinet.
“It is in line with the implementation of the Prime Minister’s order following the approval of the new structure by Cabinet,” said Regis Gatarayiha, the acting Director General.
He said that the affected employees were put on a six-month suspension, as prescribed in the country’s public service statues.
The affected employees will be entitled to their full November salary, plus two thirds, and other benefits like health insurance, for the next six months, after which their contracts would be terminated.
The New Times has since learnt that some of the affected employees had just returned from further studies under RURA’s sponsorship.
“It doesn’t matter whether they had been sent to study and came back. The restructuring was based on the job profiles that were approved after an internal review of the structure,” said Gatarayiha.
He added that the criteria were based on the requirements for each position, as prescribed by the Prime Minister’s order.
Gatarayiha said all the employees had been duly informed of the process.
“It is normal to lose your job when there is restructuring. You don’t expect people to be happy when they lose jobs, but it’s normal and we have to do it.”
He dismissed concerns about value for money in light of the employees who were sacked ,yet RURA had just paid for their Masters courses, among other capacity-building programmes.
“They are Rwandans. They went to study but we have so many of them and we have a structure that tells us that 103 (employees) is the sealing; that means that 64 had to go. It doesn’t mean that they are not going to work for the country.”
“Value for money is for the country and not for RURA alone.”
But sacked employees allege that the process was unfair, with claims that some of those who were retained were less qualified.
“There are even those who have been away for long and are just as qualified as ourselves, but have been retained even in their absence, creating a work vacuum,” one of them alleged.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Chamber of Deputies approved a new proposal for a draft law governing RURA.
Once passed, the new legislation will replace the 2001 law regulating RURA. The bill seeks to give the agency powers to regulate broadcast and internet-based media, and postal services.