The Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS), a government agency for ensuring standards of products, is cracking down on substandard fuel pumps.
According to Gilbert Barigye, an RBS official, the exercise began with the verification of the quality of fuel pumps in Kigali city centre last week but will proceed countrywide.
“Some filling stations were giving more or less fuel than the actual quantity that is paid,” Barigye explained.
The exercise comes after complaints that people were paying more money for less fuel, at most stations.
Meanwhile, a crackdown on dodgy dealers who tamper with weighing scales will also begin this month.
Cimerwa in Frw27b expansion plan
Rwanda’s leading cement factory, Cimerwa, is planning to construct a plant in Bugarama worth $50m (Frw27.4 billion).
This follows the increased demand for cement as the construction and public works’ sector growth hits 15.2 per cent, doubling the country’s economic growth last year.
A Chinese company, Pengfei Group Co. Ltd, has been hired to supervise the construction with completion expected by June 2010.
Cimerwa is a subsidiary of Rwanda Investment Group (RIG).
Tribert Rujugiro, RIG chairman, said the new plant located next to the current one will have capacity to produce 600,000 tonnes of cement annually – six times bigger than the current plant.
Rwanda partly relies on cement from Kenya and Uganda.
Due to Cimerwa’s incapacity to meet demand, the company has been importing over 500 tonnes of cement from Ukraine and China monthly to avert any likely shortage.
Rujugiro said last Friday at a general meeting for shareholders that RIG was optimistic that the new factory will be able to answer the current cement shortage challenge facing the construction sector.
A 50 kilogramme sack of Cimerwa’s cement is sold at Frw8,100 as the recommended price, contrary to Frw11,000 for imported cement.
He also said that RIG is planning to use peat as a source of energy to cut the high fuel and electricity costs which account for 80 per cent of Cimerwa’s energy costs and 70 per cent of its total costs.
Food production increase
A report from the Ministry of Agriculture has indicated that the second half of 2007 registered a food security improvement by five per cent compared to the same period in the last five years.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources’ 2007 annual report shows that 983,950 metric tonnes of cereals were produced.
However, this fell short of the country’s needs by 101,000 metric tonnes.
Therefore, there were 28,000 metric tonnes of food aid and 113,000 metric tonnes of imports.
The 1.3 per cent decline in banana production was attributed to poor plantation management and lack of knowledge of good husbandry techniques.
However, the Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) trained 4,507 farmers on banana plantation management last year.
Among the challenges highlighted during the year, soil erosion has continued to be problem.
Despite the improvement in food production, the former Minister of State in Charge of Agriculture, Daphrose Gahakwa, said in the report that the proportion of rural households using improved seed and fertilisers is miserably low.
The report reads that because the agricultural sector employs 80 per cent of the population, government will make considerable efforts to uplift the citizen livelihood through diversified crop production in order to grow by seven per cent annually over the next five years.
Some of the measures government is taking to increase food output include investment in marshlands reclamation, irrigation, use of agricultural inputs and soil conservation, crop rotation and the increase of bean and maize production.
Nakumatt opening soon
Nakumatt, a leading chain store in Kenya, is expected to open soon.
The announcement follows the arrival of a consignment of assorted products now at Magerwa warehouse in Kigali.
According to the Deputy Director General of the Rwanda Investment Promotion Agency (RIEPA), Clare Akamanzi, electronics, food, beverages, stationary; toiletries and furniture have arrived.
Nakumatt management announced the Kigali expansion in April this year and said opening was expected before the end of July.
Alfred Ng’ang’a, Ogilvy Public Relations in Nairobi, explained that despite the delay in opening due to operational reasons beyond their control, all is set and plans for the official opening are now in high gear with store stocking ongoing.
The $7 million (Frw3.5 billion) store is expected to employ about 60 Rwandans.
Poor turn out at FESPAD art exhibition
The Pan African Dance Festival (FESPAD) art exhibition that started Tuesday at Amahoro stadium in Remera registered a poor turn out of buyers.
Exhibitors attribute this to the Frw500 entrance fee and poor publicity as the main causes.
Yuriya Nikuze, an exhibitor from Dufatanye Association in Gitarama, Muhanga, confirmed poor turn up compared to other exhibitions that she has attended.
Against that backdrop, Anita Munyaneza, a FESPAD official in charge of communication, said that they had embarked on an intensive advertising campaign on Tuesday to raise awareness about the exhibition.
There are approximately 13 stands of African art pieces on sale which includes African wear, hand woven baskets (ubuseke), bags, interior decorations and African shoes.
Items cost between Frw1,000 and Frw12,000.