PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS CHOSEN TO EVALUATE FORMER LAICO HOTEL IN KIGALI
Next week will see the start of an estimated one month long evaluation audit of the former Laico Umumbano Hotel in Kigali, which the government has repossessed in the face of sanctions against the Gadaffi regime. The official position is that the 60 percent share of the sales proceeds of the hotel co-owned by Libya will be paid to the new government in Tripoli there when the hotel has finally been sold, which is the intention of the entire exercise. Bids for the sale will be invited just as soon as the consultants report is available and the hotel could be sold before the end of the year but latest in early 2012.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers has been chosen as the preferred consultants to establish a fair market value for the hotel, which continues to operate under local management since the Gadaffi Libyans were thrown out, and which will remain open for business while the audit and eventual sale go on. In the process it is expected that the buyers of the hotel will renovate it, a process long overdue and ignored by the former Gadaffi Libyan management, while government may divest its own 40 percent share on the local stock market to give Rwandans a chance to co-own what could potentially be turned into a 4star deluxe hotel again.
Gadaffi Libya has also lost its stake in RwandaTel over a series of breaches of its license and the High Court in Kigali only this week upheld the decision to wind up the company, which fixed phone network continued to operate though its mobile division had been shut down by the regulator and which may now go on sale to local bidders already active in the telecom sector.
A regular source from Rwandas tourism sector added: We had a lot of hope when the Libyans came in that they would boost capacity, renovate the hotel and make us proud of it. They let us down, with the hotel and with the telephone company. This might work somewhere else but here in Rwanda we are not to be taken for a ride. When the investor performs according to contract they are always respected and in good books but when they fail to honour agreements, they have problems, given deadlines and if they fail and have no good reasons they are free to go home again. This is all very straight forward here, and the Libyans failed in court over the telephone company and now that Gadaffi is gone, their new government will get their money when the hotel has been sold. That is guaranteed.
Rwandas capital currently has several new major hotels in the pipeline as the Marriott is due to open next year while the Kigali Serena Hotel has just completed the construction of a third wing which has seen its capacity boosted substantially. Conference and meeting tourism has been made a key target by the Rwanda Development Board Tourism and Conservation and with the construction of a brand new International Conference Centre and adjoining 5 star hotel the industry is set to get a shot in the arm from which the entire country will benefit through more arrivals and greater revenues. Watch this space.