Construction delays trigger a full project audit for Kigali’s new conference centre

RWANDAN GOVERNMENT AT THE VERGE OF SACKING CONTRACTOR FOR NEW NATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE?

(Posted 29th March 2015)

Word is coming out of tourism stakeholder circles in Kigali that the Rwandan government, clearly exasperated over the long delay in the completion of the new national convention centre and the adjoining hotel, has appointed auditors to get to the bottom of it.

Now gone beyond the original completion date by nearly three years, has the delay been turned into a ping pong game between contractors, original architects and the clients, each with their own version of events and causes.

The most plausible explanation so far has been the use of substandard material imported by the Chinese contractors from China and alleged attempts to conceal the use of rusted pipes and steel elements. With structural safety being of paramount importance did the Rwandan government apparently take no further risks, nor the word of the contractors for it and commissioned a firm to go through the project with a fine toothcomb.

Initially costed at some 250 million US Dollars has the delay also driven the overall project cost up significantly, apart from denying Rwanda’s MICE sector a crucially important meeting facility and hotel. Figures being peddled in Kigali speak of an updated cost well in excess of 400 million US Dollars and with the government being the promoter of the project – a private public partnership may come into play at a later stage to share the cost and recoup some of the initial investments – does all the extra money have to come from government sources at this stage.

Radisson Blu was selected to run both facilities but is equally standing on the sidelines waiting for a team to be sent in and pre-opening procedures to commence but only after the bulk of the construction has been completed and interior outfitting is underway.

In a related development has a source close to the Marriott Kigali, also a hotel way beyond the initial completion date, said that no firm date could be given at this time when the construction and interior furnishings and fittings will be complete.

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