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Respondents said Rwandan ministries are the biggest receivers of bribes. Photo via The EastAfrican

 

Perceived corruption in Rwanda’s public procurement system stands at 63.3 percent while 79 percent of government tender bidders admitted to have encountered corruption requests with 18 percent of them agreeing to pay.

A study conducted by Transparency International Rwanda, released early this month, said that at least Rwf14.2 billion (approximately $14.2 million) was spent in corruption instances in the past 12 months in the infrastructure sector alone. Respondents said ministries are the biggest receivers of bribes and the going rate is between Rwf10 million ($10,000) to Rwf120 million ($120,000) depending on the value of the contract.

The study conducted in March, looked at the integrity and transparency of the public procurement system in the country’s infrastructure sector. Researchers concluded that public procurement in the infrastructure sector was the most prone to corruption, lacking transparency and integrity.

“Corruption in procuring infrastructure is unique and numb to anti-corruption laws because it is a win-win situation, nobody reports nor complains,” said Enock Byiringiro, a researcher at Transparency International Rwanda.

The study surveyed 473 bidders from across Rwanda, and asked questions about integrity, competition, efficiency and accountability in public procurement. Ninety eight percent of the respondents said they have offered their bids to local government and public entities.

Respondents pointed out that inefficiencies by procuring firms such as changing contracts after they have already been signed, shortlisting fictitious firms and inaccessible bidding documents risk chances of having to pay bribes to ease the process.

“In most cases, bidders pay to ease complex procedures in the procurement systems or bribing procurement committees in the local government to compromise contacts and competition process,” said Papias Kazawadi, a member of the Federation of Engineers in Rwanda.

Corruption in the public procurement system was called out by President Paul Kagame in his remarks at a ceremony to launch the 2021/2021 judicial year held in parliament on September 6. Referring to the Transparency International Rwanda report, President Kagame said there has been pervasive corruption in public tenders especially with infrastructure projects, adding that such officers tarnish the country’s image.

The latest Auditor-General’s report that was launched in March pointed out multiple infrastructure projects that were either cancelled or overpriced due to procurement faults. - Ange Iliza, The EastAfrican

 

DAR ES SALAAM, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania's central bank said on Tuesday the east African nation recorded a 4.9 economic growth in the first quarter of 2021.

The Bank of Tanzania said in a statement that the 4.9 percent economic growth recorded in the first quarter of 2021 was lower than 5.9 percent recorded in the corresponding period in 2020.

The Bank of Tanzania issued the statement after its monetary policy committee met on Sept. 13 to review the conduct of monetary policy and economic performance in recent past and the general economic outlook.

According to the statement, the 4.9 percent economic growth was driven by construction, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, mining and quarrying activities.

The statement said the economy is expected to continue improving, owing to ongoing public investment and normalization of the global economy which will increase private sector investment and trade.

It added that performance of the external sector of the economy continued to face challenges caused by COVID-19, particularly tourism. - Xinhua

 

(Bloomberg) -- Kenya’s biggest bank by assets is in talks to acquire a lender in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the vast mineral-endowed central African country.

“We’re engaging with two institutions today that are in Congo,” KCB Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara said in an interview on Thursday. The bank will settle on a single purchase, preferably one with a “national footprint, available in all provinces,” Oigara said, without giving more details. 

KCB was beaten to entry into the DRC market of more than 92 million people by Kenyan rival Equity Group Holdings Plc, which owns the second largest of the nation’s 17 commercial banks. The lenders have for long coveted Africa’s top copper-producing country, where China Molybdenum Co. plans to double the size of its giant copper-and-cobalt unit with a $2.5 billion investment and Glencore Plc intends to reopen its mine in the country after two years.

The Nairobi-based bank sees opportunity in lending, fees and transaction incomes, funding manufacturing and expanding its customer base in the DRC.

Business Outlook

The DRC is more open to allowing foreign lenders to set up shop than Ethiopia, where KCB is also keen on an acquisition, KCB Chairman Andrew Wambari told an investor briefing on Thursday. “We don’t want to go into greenfield anymore there,” Wambari said, adding, “mergers and acquisitions is something we’ll continue to do, but very selectively.” 

Until banking regulations in Ethiopia change in favor of foreign participation, Congo will be the next market for KCB, Oigara said. 

In the meantime, the lender doubled its six-month profit to 15.3 billion shillings ($139.6 million) and plans to channel funds it would have spent on an interim dividend on concluding other acquisitions in Rwanda and Tanzania instead. That will add 100 billion shillings to its more than 1 trillion-shilling balance sheet. 

KCB also plans to grow its green financing loan book fivefold in two years from about 75 billion shillings currently, Oigara said.

The bank’s shares fell 3.1% by 2:48 p.m. in London, as investors disappointed about the lack of a dividend sold. - Bella Genga, Bloomberg News

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