Officials of Musanze district have threatened to throw out the national broadcaster, Rwanda Broadcast Agency (RBA) from their structures over unpaid rent worth Rwf15million.
This comes after a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday inquired into reasons why the district has failed to maintain its assets and some of them including of RBA offices in Musanze district remaining unattended to, for years.
A PAC Member of Parliament, MP Christine Bakundufite asked why the district is not in position to manage its property by collecting rent from the broadcaster and use it to maintain the structure.
In response the district ES informed parliament that the district council meeting had resolved to rent all properties and when they tried to get rent from RBA they hit a dead end.
“We were informed (by RBA) that the Prime Minister’s directives had offered them the building for use until they are self-sustainable. We followed up in writing but told them they are not in position to pay,” said Pierre Claver Bagirishya, the Musanze District Executive Secretary.
Adding that the district council is yet to be informed of the developments so as to take an alternative decision or await for an order that allows the broadcaster to operate in the building free of charge.
MP Beline Uwineza was not convinced with this explanation saying both entities are business oriented and should have a memorandum that permits the mechanism of collaboration.
“We want to know if you have an agreement and how you plan to get out of this issue otherwise it will continue reappearing in the OAG report,” Uwineza said.
However Jean Claude Ntezimana questioned if there is any written document to prove if there is any authority who permitted this consent or consulted the alleged minister behind this allegation.
“You should be able to ask if this is something that was agreed on by that minister, otherwise the structure will end up being an idle asset if not maintained,” Ntezimana said.
MPs picked interest in this issue among potential assets that can be income generating and questioned if there is any swap deal for Musanze district to advertise on RBA platforms so as to be compensated since both entities are business oriented.
We advised you to go for a swap advertisement but up to now we see that there is no clear understanding on your own property yet you are in business. You either agree to surrender the property or ask them to pay,” Ntezimana argued.
The ES said that there is no official written document that permits RBA to operate without pay, but only a resolution in district minutes confirming the Prime ministers directive.
PAC chairman Valens Muhakwa asked if this is the same case with all RBA offices in other 29 districts or and was told:
“We inquired in other districts if they charge rent and we found it was the same case. But we are planning to renovate the building and won’t allow RBA to return instead occupy the facility,” Bagirishya said.
MP Muhakwa said that this something that needs to be discussed with the government to find a middle way, either to get funding and renovate and agree on a rent payment plan in the long run.