2 August 2014

Rwanda: Govt to Fix 'minor' Challenges in Special Economic Zone - Kanimba

Government will soon address the lack of adequate energy, water and internet challenges faced by businesses operating in the Kigali Special Economic Zone, Nyandungu, Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade and Industry, has said.

Kanimba was speaking during a tour of the prime industrial area located in Gasabo District on Thursday.

He urged industrialists to remain focused, adding that all the infrastructural bottlenecks will soon be fixed.

"We have brought together all stakeholders to find a lasting solution to these issues," he said.

Members of the Chamber of Industries at the Private Sector Federation had since last year expressed concern over inadequate power supply at the economic zone, which they cited as a major reason why they were reluctant to relocate from Gikondo Industrial Park, a gazetted wetland.

Rakesh Vikram Singh, director of water tanks manufacturer, Aquasan Limited, said they had written letters to authorities over the unstable power supply, inadequate water supply and poor internet services but the problems have persisted.

"There is no water here," he lamented.

Kanimba said there was no point in having a Special Economic Zone without the basic necessities.

"These issues seem to be minor but once unfixed can hinder the smooth operation of businesses," he said.

He said the challenges came as a result of lack of close monitoring and poor coordination among the government bodies like former Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) and the Rwanda Development Board, which was supposed to put in place internet infrastructure.

Factories were earlier scheduled to relocate to the special economic zone in May this year. The deadline was later pushed to this month. To date, about nine of the 14 factories meant to relocate have moved.

Kanimba said they were now in the process of constructing facilities in the economic zone for the big manufacturing plants located in Gikondo, a process which he hoped will be complete in the next 18 months.

He, however, said businesses like garages in Gikondo will not be moved to the special economic zone but would be relocated to other areas of the city.

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