How a foreign investment suffered in the hands of mighty gov’t

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By Robert Mugabe

KIGALI-RWANDA-As Rwanda Development Board (RDB) continue to swank for its flexible policies and world ranking for efforts to liberalize doing business in Rwanda, complaints and woes of foreign investors business dying, continue to raise alarm.

Rwanda Development Board is accused by some of the investors for failing to protect their business in the country. After Natural Resource Development, Israel investor, now Kenya based investors are in woes and asking the high decision makers to intervene.

Petro-energy is seen closing following Rwanda transport agency ONATRACOM refusal to pay the long standing debts close to four hundred thousand million francs. And as a result, banks are confiscating the investor’s assets.

According to the agreement and engagement letter seen by this publication; Petrol-energy LTD, won the tender to supply fuel to ONATRACOM buses of approximately Rwf 1.7Billion to be specific the real amount on the engagement letter is Frw 1,641,992,437.

On 22 February 2010, ONATRACOM and Petro-energy signed agreement to be paying in every 30 days of fueling buses and maximally to be 45 days. Petro-energy started fueling the buses and ONATRACOM didn’t pay even a single penny.

ONATRACOM strategy was just simple; every 30days Petro-energy would get a payment order for the account which was empty. The fact was, ONATRACOM had no single penny on their account. But, the management of petro-energy kept courage of playing their part, basing on the promises of ONATRACOM management until October 2010.

It’s by then, when petro-energy approached ONATRACOM to talk on the payment modalities and forging the way forward. In October 06, 2010 meeting, ONATRACOM agreed to be owing Rwf 382,314,357 in the same meeting, promised also to pay the Kenyan based investors Petro-energy LTD in 3 tranches not beyond 15working days.

The fuel company was convinced to continue supplying fuel to the buses until when Petro-energy LTD decided to take the matter to the ministry of infrastructure (MININFRA). November 16, 2010 the management of Petro-energy penned a letter to the minister, explaining his woes and gave the copy to the ombudsman office.

Great Lakes Voice understands that Petro-energy boss Abdirahman A. Mumin wrote to the Prime Minister to intervene and ensure his payment but in vain. Speaking to Eugene Barikana, director general in the Prime Minister’s office said, the matter was directed to ministry of Infrastructure to resolve the issue.

“It’s not understandable how the Prime Minister again has brought the issue to the infrastructure ministry. May be, Premier, would have directed the ministry of finance to pay immediately.” An official in the infrastructure told Great Lakes Voice

Without giving much information, Barikana said that “The Prime Minister ordered the ministry of infrastructure to solve the issue.”

The government has started to look for the potential investors to run ONATRACOM as is seen remaining as minor share holder.

The tender board law says that the government institution to be sold out to private sector, at least debts concerning employees’ salary and running costs debt to be paid first.

The effort to speak to the infrastructure Minister was futile since he couldn’t pick our calls.

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