17 January 2013

Rwanda: Companies Lose Garbage Collection Contracts

The City of Kigali was forced to cancel contracts of some companies which were contracted to collect garbage in the various city suburbs, officials said yesterday.

John Mugabo, who is in charge of Waste Management at Kigali City Council, was responding to reports of delayed garbage collection in some parts of the city.

When The New Times visited some suburbs last week, such as Kimironko, Kanombe and Kimisagara, there were piles of uncollected garbage with residents complaining of the unbearable stench.

Some said the garbage in their areas posed a health threat if there was no urgent intervention. Emmanuel Nizeyimana, a resident of Kimironko said the garbage had not been collected for over three weeks.

"They collect the rubbish once every week but during the previous weeks, there is a period when it wasn't collected thus attracting flies and we were worried about our health," he said.

Nizeyimana said the area around Kimironko market was the most threatening since a terrible stench is what they all wake up to due to the rotting filth.

In an interview with The New Times, Mugabo, explained that some of the garbage collection companies were recently stopped because they were not doing their work.

Situation contained

He said some of the companies which had been given the tender for garbage collection would deliberately refuse to work, leaving garbage collection to their counterparts, thus compelling Kigali City Council to advertise and bring in other companies that were willing to do their work efficiently.

"Previously, we had about three to five companies, all working in the same cell which made supervision and control harder. They would refuse to take responsibility at times because they were different companies assigned the same task," he noted. "So we terminated their contracts".

Mugabo said there were 43 companies involved in waste collection but only 16 were registered with Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA).

When some of the companies heard that their contracts were going to be terminated, Mugabo says, they decided to deliberately stop collecting waste.

"But the situation has now been contained. Following a meeting with RURA and other stake holders, KCC has now decided to have one company per sector to collect garbage more effectively," he said.

"This will also help improve accountability and commitment which hasn't been the case before."

Mugabo further stated that they signed a contract at sector level where by the leadership there will be responsible for ensuring that stubborn clients pay up as it's been one of the challenges and excuses for not collecting garbage on time.

"Companies would also leave garbage in community under disguise that people hadn't paid up their garbage bills. It's for that reason that we have also devised a new rule that the companies collect garbage whether people pay up or not and at the end of the month, submit the list of those who haven't paid so that the sector leadership ensures that clients pay up and also follow up," Mugabo said.

Each of the companies given the tender must have at least a minimum of three trucks per sector, according to Mugabo.

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