Engineers have threatened not to register with the industry’s newly-created council over what they call high annual membership fees, insisting the charges be reduced to suit their means.
Since the council of engineers was established in February, just about 1oo professionals have registered, with the majority still hesitant.
The council is the regulatory body that controls the engineering professionals in the country.
Every local registered practitioner is obliged to pay an annual fee of Rwf250,000, which the engineers say is beyond their means.
According to the law establishing the Institute of Engineers in Rwanda, all engineers must be registered to ensure they fulfill the requirements to deliver a good professional service.
Eng. Denis Mandela, an architecture at the central bank, said the fee should be revised to allow younger, upcoming professionals benefit not exploiting them.
“I have not registered because it’s too much money...it favorus those who are well established and own their companies but for upcoming professionals, it’s totally unaffordable,” he said.
He added that the fee should be revised to at least Rwf100,000.
Another practitioner, who preferred anonymity for fear of being victimised, said the fee was only benefiting the leaders of the council not the practitioners, adding that the council should “thoroughly explain” the significance of paying the fee.
The source claimed that what the employees need is the experience and skills to perform, not the membership certificate.
“It is unfair, we have many engineers who come to this country as expatriates but do they require this certificate? This is simply expensive and I cannot afford it,” said the source, an agricultural engineer working in a public institution.
The certificate, which will be obtained upon payment of the fee, is a requirement for all engineering practitioners, including those working in the public sector.
He observed that in other countries they consider cases of engineers on individual basis depending on their financial capacity to impose a fee, but not a uniform fee for everyone.
Eng. Dismas Nkubana, the head of the Institute of Engineers in Rwanda, said the professionals are merely not respecting the decision taken by a general assembly.
However, Eng. Nkubana added that they intend to convene by next month to have a generally agreed upon fee.
He refuted allegations that the fee was uniform, saying they levy Rwf100,000 for graduates out of school and it is only the working class who are required to pay the Rwf250,000 per year.
“What kind of engineers do we have in the country that can’t raise this fee? I think they are just not interested. This fee goes to different activities that benefit them like organising conferences and general assemblies,” he said.
He further clarified that apart from the different activities the 40 per cent goes to private sector which facilitates the professionals.
The council says the number of engineers in the country is currently not known but estimated it in thousands, given the numbers that have been graduating from various universities in recent years.
For instance, statistics from Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (Kist) indicate that since the establishment of the engineering faculty in 2002, over 5,700 students have graduated in different fields.
Last year, about 725 graduated while this year over 600 were awarded bachelor’s degrees in different engineering fields.
Kist produces the biggest number of engineers in the country.