Rwanda’s National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) and Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) will see tons of their imported products and equipment auctioned in January next year.
For some months now, Rwanda Revenue Authority says the above institutions failed to clear their imported products hence exceeding the legal storage period at MAGERWA – Rwanda’s main inland cargo handling facility.
After several calls that were turned down by concerned parties, Rwanda’s tax collector will next month auction the products.
Other range of goods belonging to individuals and private institutions which imported them, but failed to raise money for custom clearance will also be auctioned.
The abandoned products to be auctioned are over 400 products, equipment and tools that have been left in warehouses for up to two years.
Given that the products are in huge volumes and are taking space which is needed for the newly imported products and tools, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) says the auction will take place on 28th January 2018.
“The law allows us to auction those products whose owners did not come to clear after six months,” Richard Tusabe, RRA Commissioner General told KT Press.
NAEB and RBC products to be auctioned include; a mango washer and a flume washer and three turatti system which consist of food processing machineries.
The equipment which weighs a total 11,164 kilograms (11.1tons) were imported by National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) between November 14th and 23rd 2016 and stored at Magerwa, Gikondo – specifically in the warehouse labeled EDB.
Between April 1st and April 30th 2015, Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) had also imported 1,044 packets of mosquito nets totaling 42,189 kilograms and were stored at Magerwa’s EDA warehouse.
“Prior to taking the last option to auction products, we write to the owners asking them to come and clear, but when they do not come, we sell them and the money is put among the deposits,” Tusabe said adding that when it is about products which might be damaged earlier than six months, decision to auction them before they stale can be taken.
“We wrote to everyone on that list but they did not comply. Auctioning them is important because the warehouses have to get space for other products. Moreover, getting the products damaged would be a loss to the country,” Tusabe said.
Information from NAEB communication department suggests that RRA mistakenly listed them among owners of products to be auctioned.
“We notified RRA that the equipment in question were registered to our name (NAEB) by a private investor who ventured in horticulture. They belong to an individual person, not to us. We made this very clear in a previous auction,” Pie Ntwali, Communication officer at NAEB told KT Press.
For RBC, they also deny any link with the mosquito nets. “We do not have such case of products, drugs or anything in Magerwa,” said Celsa Muzayire, Director General of Rwanda Drug, Consumables and Equipment Central Procurement Agency (CAMERWA).
Muzayire told KT Press that in the past, they had a case of fake mosquito nets that were supplied while they did not meet required standards.
“We rejected mosquito nets from two suppliers,” she said. According to Mukazayire, in the tender procedures, when a supplier imports drugs or other equipment, they do an inspection before clearance and when they do not qualify, they reject them.
At that level, she said, the supplier can come to us so that we can discuss disposal mechanisms. The supply assumes the disposal cost. The disposal can include; offering the products as gifts, destroying them or even, auctioning them.
Lambert Nyoni, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Magerwa told KT Press that from what he remembers, there might have been an issue between suppliers and both institutions.
For example, he said, NAEB once came to us asking for more time to clear the equipment.
“That request was once filed but I need to check the progress of the issue properly,” he said.
For the case of RBC, he said, the auction involves low standard mosquito nets from the supplier.
Meanwhile, 148 products ranging from vehicles to machinery, motorcycles, air conditioners; wines and spirits belonging to private individuals and institutions will also be auctioned from several warehouses on January 13th 2018.