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newtimes - 1 month ago

Is Rwf2.4bn stalled hospitality project finally coming to life?

Workforce Development Authority (WDA) has announced that the Rwf2.4bn project to construct Kigali Hospitality Management Institute in Kigali which had hit an impasse has been revived and construction works could be completed by August this year. Construction started in early 2015 following an agreement between Workforce Development Authority (WDA) and Swiss-based hospitality school ‘Les Roches International School of Hotel Management’. The Government hired Roko Construction Ltd to carry out the designing and construction of the school in Remera and was meant to be completed in 2016. However, until now the school is yet to be completed. “The school should have been completed earlier but due to internal issues, the construction company worked at a slow pace which delayed the project. We have been discussing in different high-level meetings and we finally came up with further agreements to fast-track the works,” Eng. Pascal Gatabazi, the Director General of WDA told The New Times. WDA further says that the stalling was caused by the contractor who halted construction activities due to delayed payments by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning but the ministry said the disbursement could not be carried out as expected since the project did not have an independent institution to supervise it. Les Roches, which has high skills in the hospitality and tourism sector, was to provide advisory and support services in establishing and operating the school for four years from 2016 to March 2019. But when the constructor missed the completion deadline, ‘Les Roches International School of Hotel Management withdrew from the agreement in March 2019 since it had expired. In addition to that, students were supposed to go to Les Roche in Switzerland, to acquire skills in hospitality management, but with the construction of the institute they will be taking their courses at the institution in Kigali. “The Swiss-based hospitality school quit because the contractor had not respected deadlines for completing the project. But we hope it will come back into partnership soon. We have held many negotiations so that they come back into partnership. Even Tomorrow (Wednesday, we will talk in a webinar for further negotiations. We want that as soon as the school is complete, negotiations come to an end so that we continue to partner,” he said There is hope that the school will have been completed by August this year as construction works have resumed, he noted. Gatabazi said that works had resumed but later disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic until they were recently allowed to resume. The school with 60 rooms has capacity to train over 60 students in a certain short-course period, he said. Gatabazi explained that Kigali Hospitality Management Institute is expected to address the challenge of poor service delivery in the hospitality sector and contribute in the implementation of the government’s strategy to promote conference tourism. Upon completion, the hospitality management institute will deliver diplomas in hospitality management, especially hotels management, and will serve as a college to train both working hotel operation professionals and aspiring hotel service workers and managers.

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