At the beginning of any given financial year, each state institution has a plan of what it will do. They issue tenders going into the billions. Ordinarily, any Rwandan with the requisite competence can seek any of the contracts, at least that is what is on paper.
A trend has been around year-in-year-out where government is paying contractors amounts that are beyond comprehension. For the financial year 2018-2019, The Chronicles detailed what happened that year alone. It was shocking to say the least.
The Senate, the upper house of parliament for example, issued three tenders which were budgeted to cost a total of Rwf 8.2m. However, by completion of the contracts, the government had paid out Rwf 79m or an increase of 865%.
The wastage is not just at the central government level. During the same period, Huye district put out two tenders which were to cost a total of Rwf 30m. Shockingly, by end of the contracts, the state had coughed out Rwf 240m.
That was in 2018-2019. The Chronicles has obtained new data showing how the following financial year 2019-2020 wasn’t any different.
From a total of 69 tenders reviewed, it has been discovered that the taxpayer foot an extra nearly Rwf 16billion.
Power distributor EDCL had two tenders budgeted for Rwf 128m. Instead, the finance ministry, which handles all government payments, paid out a total of Rwf 1.1billion.
As indicated in the table below, another of the state bodies spending taxpayers money without any regard, is Meteo Rwanda. For six tenders budgeted to consume Rwf 89m, the weather caster gave the finance ministry a final cost of over Rwf 1.4billion or an increase of, get this, 1523%.
In our 2020 special report on huge payouts for tenders, we asked the Auditor General Obadia Biraro to share with the public which companies got the tenders during the 2018-2019 period in review.
The AG, after sometime, responded, through the media office that the tenders are not public information. Not even parliament had the right to look at those tenders, according to the AG. Yet, the 2013 Access to Information Law requires all government officials to provide information as a matter of legal responsibility not a matter of choice.
The Chronicles is still working on obtaining the data about the tenders in question. We request patriotic Rwandans, either working in those agencies or having information about these tenders, to come forward by sharing that data. The Chronicles believes Rwandans have a right to know who is being paid so exorbitantly on their behalf and why.
Rwandans deserve to know what was so special about those tenders that they merit payments which have skyrocketed through the roof.