The ministry of trade and industry Soraya Hakuziyaremye has assured parliament that officials who were involved in purchasing faulty equipment for government funded factories will be held accountable after an internal audit is conducted.
This resolve comes after it has emerged that at least 34 agro-based processing plants have completely closed doors since 2016 creating a push and pull blame effect between the ministry of trade and agriculture.
The blame game between both ministries is among the findings members of parliament raised, thus summoning them to give a verbal response on the chicken –egg dispute between farmers and factories.
In fact, factories say that they are producing below capacity which sometimes forces them to close business, yet farmers in return, claim lack of markets.
For example Amidon plant in Bugesera district was supposed to produce powered cassava as validated in 2013 study.
The ministry of agriculture and finance ministry agreed to purchase equipment through a South Korean company worth Rwf1.7 billion of which Rwf1.2 billion was to be solicited as a loan from banks.
The proposed Rwf 2.8 billion plant was supposed to start production in 2015 but it was not constructed and its equipment has remained in a storage facility of which the government is paying a non-specified rate till today.
The other is Kinazi cassava plant in Ruhango district which purchased a cassava drying machine as a way of enabling farmers dry their produce in 2015, but the machine has since then failed to perform as a result of technical aspects.
“We are going to do an internal audit on what happened in these factories to find out where the mistakes came from and anyone involved will face justice, “ said the Minister Hakuziyaremye.
The minister was appearing before the lower house of parliament on March 27, 2019 Wednesday to answer 21 questions on why farmers’ produce has failed to get market, why community based factories have closed doors, and her plans on improving local production and export policy of made in Rwanda products among others.
MPs also asked that a detailed scrutiny of officials who purchased machinery for government investment entities and end up not using them should also be investigated and measures taken immediately.
“This is money meant to improve lives of common Rwandan citizens and someone should be held accountable. We are not going to let this pass without action taken,” said MP Ignacienne Nyirarukundo.
Christine Mukabunani asked parliament to make an immediate recommendation on action that needs to be taken instead of verbally discussing such aspects of fund and projects mismanagement.
Holding corrupt leaders accountable
A total of 200 saving and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) managers are currently under investigation by Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).
The minister said that cleaning up has been done among saccos and cooperatives where at least 20 percent Rwf2.7 billion of the mismanaged funds (Rwf10 billions) have been recovered using a special recovery taskforce.
“We will require audits of cooperative management and finances, and this will require some of them to fund their own external audits as a sustainable solution to resolving managerial issues,” Hakuziyaremye said.
MPs said that the steps taken on Saccos are so far promising and this will relieve Rwandans who have for recent days lost hope in them.
“It’s not enough to have integrated administrators but also have consistent audits,” said MP Christine Muhongayire.