4 December 2018

Rwanda: Lawmakers Want Govt to Ensure Timely Expropriations

Members of Parliament yesterday urged the Prime Minister to ensure that future expropriation processes are seamless.

Edouard Ngirente addressed both chambers of Parliament on Tuesday, highlighting the government's effort to ease transport across the country.

"We want to build more roads in order to ease transport," the premier told MPs.

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente addresses both chambers of Parliament as Senate vice-president Jeanne d'Arc Gakuba looks on in Kimihurura yesterday. Sam Ngendahimana.

He revealed that under a seven-year programme from 2017 to 2024, the Government plans to construct 394km of asphalt roads.

They include Ngoma-Bugesera-Nyanza, Huye-Kibeho-Ngoma (Munini), Base-Butaro-Kidaho, Base-Rukomo-Nyagatare, Kigali (Akagera road) to Bugesera International airport, and Huye-Gisagara.

The Government also plans to rehabilitate 534.8km of national asphalt roads as well as build and repair 350 kilometres of district and town roads across the country.

Some 3,085 kilometres of murram roads in districts and towns will also be either repaired or built while 1,091km of national murram roads will be frequently repaired as part of routine maintenance, he said.

Along with cases of some roads that are built but end up with issues such as poor drainage systems or poor durability, the legislators brought to the attention of the Prime Minister the issue of where some roads are built but compensation claims for destroyed or lost private property remain.

"In building infrastructure, there are often issues with expropriation. Why do we always remain with complaints about compensation whenever we celebrate completion of works on roads?" wondered MP Winifrida Niyitegeka.

She urged the Government to ensure that expropriation problems are solved early enough before works on roads start and to address any pending compensation claims where road construction works have been completed.

Senator Evariste Bizimana also raised the same challenges of inefficient expropriations when it comes to infrastructure projects.

"Expropriation laws are being violated very frequently. Let's be smart in the way we build roads by smartly addressing expropriation issues in the process," he said.

In November last year, a report by the Rwanda Civil Society Platform indicated that at least 30 per cent of land expropriation claimants in the country face delays in receiving their compensations.

The report indicated that in different expropriation processes that had been taking place, only 69 per cent of the people interviewed in 12 districts across the country received their compensation within 120 days as prescribed by the law, while 31 percent of the cases faced delays.

According to the study, 74.4 per cent of the expropriation projects were owned by the central government, 18.8 were initiated by the local government, and only 6.9 belonged to private investors.

Prime Minister Ngirente reassured the MPs that the Government will strive to take good care of expropriation processes as it embarks on building the planned roads.

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