Rwanda: Rusumo Power Plant Energy Production to Delay

The regional Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Project is unlikely to be operational by the end of the year as was previously announced, according to an Auditor General joint report from Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi.

The report that was presented at the Auditor's general head office on Friday October 1, showed that the project is at 81.4 per cent of its completion phase.

The joint audit report raised concerns over the project, whereby Rusumo Power Company Limited (RPCL) directed that the completion of the first phase of the project will be done by December 31 2021, a timeline auditors described as 'unrealistic'.

"We have noticed that a time extension of the project is inevitable, and the works will not be completed in just the three months remaining before the end of the year and if completed that would be next to a miracle" noted the Rwanda Auditor-General Obadiah Biraro

The report further identified other factors that include missed deadlines from the beginning of the project, flaws in procurement of the contractor, deficiencies in feasibility studies and inaccuracies of information drafted in the contract.

However the management attributes the delay of the project to descrepancies in tax exemptions and disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the report, there is a balance of $146 million which represents 43 per cent out of the $340 million of committed funds, however uncertainty over the completion of the project could lead to increased cost of the project which is likely to change as more time passes by.

Charles Kichere, Controller and Auditor General of the United Republic of Tanzania, said that their wish is that the extension period would be a non-cost extension, despite the report indicating otherwise.

"Seeing that the money is a loan, it would be good to see the completion of the project within the budget and maybe use the remaining money for other projects as well," he added.

The auditors' report will be presented to the countries' respective parliaments, in order to find proper framework for effective joint management of the project.

The project is under the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), and will benefit Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania which are part of the Initiative, it is projected to generate power using water from Akagera River that straddle the three countries, it will generate 80MWto be shared among the three countries.

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