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RTDA Questioned on Nkombo Boat II  

by Daniel Sabiiti
11:44 am

Nkombo boat I

Rwanda Transport Development Agency(RTDA) has promised that by March 2024, Nkombo community residents will have their long anticipated Nkombo boat II assembled and ready for use, following persistent delays in execution of the supply contract.

The Auditor General’s report revisited by the Parliament Accounts Committee this September 7, 2023 showed persistent delay in execution of contract for the supply of Nkombo boat II.

The report said that as highlighted in the previous audit report, on 10 May 2018 RTDA in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence (MINADEF) signed the contract worth $2,656,600 taxes excluded, with Avalon Steel Project for the supply of Nkombo boat II.

The initial contract period was 336 days effective from 10 May 2018 that means up to 11 April 2019. The contractor was granted four non-cost extensions totalling to 1,556 days greater than the initial contract execution period with (1,220 days) and the new date for the supply of Nkombo boat II became 15 July 2023.

The latest general progress of the boat supply was at 47% and a field visit of 03 November 2022 revealed that the extension granted to the contractor were subjected to exceeding the initial contract execution period.

During the execution of this contract, Five (5) addenda were signed with the contractor whereby additional contract period extensions significantly exceeded the initial contract execution period.

Therefore, 1665 days (55 months) have elapsed since the commencement of this project (11 months of initial contract execution period + 42 months for contract extensions)representing 382% while the project was planned to be implemented within only (336) days.

The AG report showed according to the supervision report for September 2022, that completion of works stood at 56.48% (one month to contract completion end date).

During the field visit, the audit noted that the assembling activities were still in progress whereas out of five (5) stages, the construction works were still at the first stage of the bottom deck and the other four (4) were yet to start (main deck, passenger deck, bridge deck and elevation).

The low pace was mainly due to budget constraints encountered by RTDA on the execution of this project.It is worth noting that by the time of audit in October 2022, only $1,568,529.21 (i.e. 59% of the total contract value of $2,656,600) had been paid to the contractor.

Members of PAC expressed frustration over these delays doubting if Nkombo II project, aimed at further easing means of transport and connection for the “isolated” Nkombo islanders would materialize.

Currently, the Nkombo community has one small size ferry (Nkombo I) operating between the Island and Rusizi mainland. The second ferry is what has been delayed.

RTDA DG, Imena Munyampenda explains reasons behind the delays in delivering Nkombo boat II

“We delayed getting funding to pay the invoices and thus the increase in days. As we speak now, all the equipment is ready, and we have a commitment from the supplier to have the ferries commissioned by March next year,” Imena Munyampenda, the RTDA Director General, told PAC.

The said available equipment includes the boat’s feasiolage, engine, seats (150 capacity), six cars packing space and capacity to load ten tonnes of cargo.

MP Germaine Mukabalisa said PAC has been hearing this response since 2020 which stated that the boat parts are coming but the people of Nkombo have been waiting and now are in 2023 and instead the delays in days have increased.

“Should the people of Nkombo continue waiting or just give up? We have since 2020 and till to date heard the same promises; in 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2024 will be the same story. Tell us something new that we will ask you next year,”Mukabalisa asked.

MP Jean Claude Ntezimana asked RTDA to explain the source of its belief that the project will be delivered, especially that the time left is small and the clock is ticking.

Munyampenda responded that the hope of delivery by March 2024 is that this is the current pending payment and the assembling (at 70%) is being done at Karongi bay.

He also said that the ferry will be ready by March but commissioned and ready for use two months later after conducting tests.

The Nkombo boat II is expected to operate between Rusizi, Karongi, and Rubavu sections of Kivu Lake stretch.

On the MPs concern about the issue of high cost of fuel, Munyampenda explained that they are looking into Private Public Partnership (PPP) with a tourism investor to have Nkombo boat II as an income generating project just as the Mantis boat- which is also looking for an investor.

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