Mukamira Maize Factory is struggling to continue operations after a Rwf495 million loan it secured from the Ministry of Trade and Industry was reportedly stolen by its Managing Director.
Enode Nduwayezu, the former Managing Director, has gone missing after realising he was in trouble over the missing funds.
The ministry, as part of a campaign to promote the growth of small-scale industries, created a ‘revolving fund’ for financial support to various groups.
“The funds went missing in June this year and the factory is barely operating, but we are devising means on how it can work again,” said Angel Mukaminani, Nyabihu District Vice Mayor in Charge of Economic Affairs.
The loan was meant to buy maize seeds that would be distributed to farmers to improve their harvest, which they would, in turn, sell to the factory.
The New Times has learnt that Prime Minister, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, summoned board members of the company and the leadership of Nyabihu District to get explanations.
Although the company is financially struggling, it has so far managed to pay back the ministry Rwf 219 million.
“In the meeting we had with the Prime Minister, it was resolved that the remaining amount be paid to Minicom (Ministry of Trade and Industry) not later than one week; if all goes according to plan, it should be paid by now,” added Mukaminani.
With all its woes, the maize factory employs 30 workers but its production has decreased from 12,000 tonnes a day to less than one tonne.