Despite COVID-19 lockdown, the government has allowed some companies to continue activities on major development projects that are close to deadline or are either more important for the country or may cause more damage if not finished on due time.
The clearance notified to line ministries and government enterprises was announced this April 19. It includes construction of health facilities and schools, road works, rehabilitation of water treatment plants among others.
Nine Health facilities to be constructed and renovated by Reserve Force include- Gatonde, Nyabikenke, Kibuye, Kiziguro Hospital, Nyamicucu Health Centre and Gakoro Health Post in Musanze District.
Works on education facilities will also include; Schools construction under the support of World Bank in different districts of 2,704 additional classrooms and 3,648 latrines, six technical (TVET) schools at the Borders areas of Gicumbi, Burera, and Nyagatare districts- which projects need to be completed in July 2020.
Cleared were also the construction of 19 blocks of 152 classrooms buildings located in nine districts of Rusizi, Muhanga, Karongi, Rutsiro, Burera, Gicumbi, Nyagatare, Huye and Rubavu and completion of internal works at Mary Hill Girls Secondary School before schools resume.
The directive also permitted 12 insurance companies (general and life) to continue operations during the lockdown period. These include: Sanlam General, Sanlam life, Sonarwa general, Sonarwa life, Prime general, Prime life, BK general insurance, Britam insurance, MUA insurance, Radiant insurance, UAP insurance and Mayfair insurance.
With the need for environment protection, the ministry of environment was asked to clear critical projects.
These include the proper maintenance of planted trees and nurseries which is critical to avoid further deterioration at Nyandungu Urban Wetland Eco-Tourism Park where the first phase of expropriation had already started in January
The landscape restoration and Integrated Water resources management in Sebeya river and other catchments project to reduce land degradation, river sedimentation and flooding in high risk hilly districts of Rustiro and Ngororero in the western province is also on this list.
Alo undergoing is the Project for the Mitigation of destructive floods affecting the volcano area by rehabilitating 4 gullies in Musanze and Burera.
These areas have the highest risks of flooding fatalities during this April rainy season.
This list adds to a set of other activities like Utilities (water and electricity) which were previously given a green light to continue operations during the coronavirus lockdown which is on till April 30th.
Even with this clearance, the Ministry said that lockdown guidelines as provided by government should be respected at all the sites to ensure physical distancing and safety but also
“All these companies would only use essential staff, maximize use of machines where possible and abide by the instructions of the Ministry of Health regarding COVID-19 (use masks, wash hands frequently, keep a distance of 1 meter apart, temperature measurement and report any suspected cases of COVID-19),” Infrastructure Minister, Ambassador Claver Gatete said.
Previously, but as part of this instruction, 26 companies were clered to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment.