The Minister of Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, will today appear before parliament to verbally respond to issues within her docket, concerning land use, wetland, forests and water management among others.
This is the third time that Parliament summons the minister, who had previously been summoned twice but didn’t appear for several reasons including official duties that coincided with the planned hearing.
Today at a summon session slated for 3pm, MPs will want to know how far is the plan of putting in place a proper land use master plan as a way of solving issues arising in land management and increase revenues on land taxes.
In the parliamentary field report conducted in December 2019 and January 2020 lawmakers found that there is a poor guideline on proposed master plans where some residents do farming on designated residential land.
The MPs also found that a flat fee of Rwf30,000 is charged on citizen’s land leasing and transfer without consideration of the size or cost of land.
According to parliament, the minister will be tasked to show how this flat price charged on land paperwork will be resolved following complaints raised by several citizens.
Wetlands management will be one of the crucial issues in which MPs will be concerned with a report that shows many underutilized wetlands which can actually be put to use to promote livestock keeping, a sector which had a good performance in the first quarter of 2020 despite the effects of Covid-19 on agriculture and livestock productivity in Rwanda.
MPs will ask the minister’s plan of making good use of the idle wetlands scattered across the country.
In earlier plenary sessions some MPs had suggested for the government to hire Rwandan university students to do feasibility studies after it was evident that hiring foreigners was resulting in spending more money on un-scrutinized feasibility studies.
For example this May a parliament report on infrastructure planning showed the case of Nyandungu wetlands which now needs to have a new feasibility study after millions were spent on the first study in 2019, and some of the business activities having to be demolished.
On water management parliament will be tough on knowing government plans of managing wasted water resources, like rainwater, streams and tap water in homes, especially when the parliament report shows that many citizens still don’t have access to clean water.
Rwanda plans on having 100% access to clean water in 2024 and MPs will want to know how the ministry plans to reduce wasted water resources at a time when there are many residents who lack and make long distances to get clean water.
In an earlier plenary some MPs like Eugene Barikana used the session to push and question on how far with the proposed idea to solve the issues of water wastage by reviving the earlier proposed ‘CashWater’ meter.
Besides wasted water, the minister will be required to show the strategy of solving the issue of natural water sources damaging the citizen property and infrastructure and especially volcanic water coming down in Musanze district.
Musanze residents who spoke to KigaliToday, said that flooding has destroyed bridges, farms and posed a danger to the children going to school.
“This water is more dangerous than poverty,” said Claude Nkudimana, a resident of the Rugarama sector, Musanze district.
On Management of government land and forests, Parliament report shows that most of the government-owned land and forests are not registered in districts and some citizens had claimed this land as their own
On this issue, a parliamentary report on the Ombudsman activities 2018/2019 had raised a justice concern in which both citizens and government were battling for ownership of property.
In one case citizens who had bought government-owned marshlands in Huye district were asked to return the property without compensation.