February 14, 2019

A Proper Audit Of Gov’t Buildings Urgently Needed

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Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA), the institution that is mandated to, among other things, manage public office space and government assets admits that it doesn’t know the number of buildings that government owns as its Director-General told The Chronicles. 

So, how can it manage what it doesn’t know?

Yet, the government isn’t only involved in constructing more buildings in order to reduce its yearly expenditure on rent, but still pays billions of Rwandan Francs every year in renting offices for some of its agencies and ministries.

Now, if RHA does not know the number of buildings the government has at the moment, how can the public trust that it is managing government assets properly or that the buildings now under construction will be properly managed once they are completed?

Put differently, how can the public trust that the yearly expenditure in billions of Rwanda Francs spent on renting office space for government agencies and ministries is justified when the agency charged with managing its assets doesn’t have a database of all such assets and their conditions?

This lack of a database for assets and buildings the RHA manages is something even the Auditor-General’s report mentions year-in-year-out; but nothing has been done thus far.

At The Chronicles, we believe the best way the RHA can instil trust and confidence that it is efficiently and effectively capable of managing government buildings and assets is if, in the first place, it knows all buildings and assets it’s supposed to manage; their location, state, and number of offices or institutions they can house.

For that to happen, the starting point should be carrying out a proper mapping and auditing of all government buildings and assets as well as the state they are in.

This is an urgent matter to save government from a probable unnecessary expenditure on rent. There is a possibility government has buildings it does not use yet it spends public funds on rent; money that would otherwise be used on other priorities─like education, feeding children in schools, etc.

We therefore encourage RHA to carry out that audit. 

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