Financial mismanagement and shoddy delivery of infrastructure projects across Rwanda have resulted in the Ministry of Infrastructure embarking on internal sweeping reforms.
According to officials, the reforms will see the ministry setting up a monitoring taskforce that will oversee all ongoing projects from the national level down to the district level.
The department, which is yet to come into effect, will comprise of key members at the ministry, its implementation agencies and officials from the Ministry of Local Government.
They will be tasked with monitoring the implementation of all tenders in the transport, water and energy sectors.
The move comes shortly after President Paul Kagame raised concerns on the need for reforms in many public institutions, which have resulted in the government incurring financial losses on development projects across the country.
Infrastructure Minister, James Musoni, said there is a need for proper co-ordination between his ministry and its parastatals specifically on construction projects, whose completion are often delayed and or substandard.
He added that most of the shoddy work that was reported involved projects carried out at the district and sector levels whose implementation is regularly marred by inefficiency and lack of proper inspection.
In a recent Cabinet swearing-in ceremony, President Kagame said officials who allow lousy projects to be implemented were careless and that must change.
Mr Musoni gave the example of a feeder road project in Nyagatare district whose tender was awarded to a blacklisted constructor (GECOTRA LTD) by district officials and ended up doing shoddy work.
“The investor and his construction company had been blacklisted, but they bid for a new project and secured the deal,” he said.
The road in question was supposed to connect Nyagatare to Kizinga and Rwimpasha border post. The company was supposed to be paid about Rwf1.2 billion ($1.4m) and is reported to have misled district officials to win the tender.
Didace Kayitare who is the vice-mayor in charge of finance and economic development in Nyagatare district said that after the district became aware of the company’s reputation, it cancelled all payments for the project and contacted the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) and Rwanda Transport Development agency (RTDA) for clarity.
“We came to learn that the investor, whom we had blacklisted, had bought a new company and used its new profile to bid for the tender,” Mr Kayitare said.
According to Mr Kayitare, at least 48 per cent of the total cost of the project was paid in advance.
He said that since the suspension of the project, a new team was formed to assess the value of the work done until further direction is given by both RPPA and RTDA.
Last week, the Rwanda National Police reported that it had arrested two senior officials from the ministries of water and energy.
James Sano, chief executive of Water and Sanitation Corporation and Emmanuel Kamanzi, managing director of Energy Development Corporation Ltd are in police custody over issuance of illegal tenders and misuse of public property.
About Rwf370 million ($437,332) and Rwf61 million ($72,100) worth of tenders are reported to have been awarded to different companies by Wasac to install a water pumping station, without a bill of quantity, and for preparing and conducting exams of new employees.
The report added that more than Rwf270 million ($319,134) was paid to buy around 10 defective electricity transformers and 400 electric poles, yet the tenders issued by EDCL did not comply with standard procedures.