In a bid to maximise use of its office space, cut on rent expenditure and host additional agencies, the government is pushing to acquire or construct its own buildings then manage them.
“There has been addition of new government buildings but the demand is much more than supply, this is largely because new institutions have been created and others moved to secondary cities where government has no buildings,” said Mr Nsanzineza Noel, Ag Director General of Rwanda Housing Authority.
He said although on paper it looks like the government rent should be reduced due to addition of new structures, this is not the case, noting that annual government expenditure on rent now stands at Rwf 7billion from Rwf4 billion four years ago.
In 2012, the government spent more than Rwf4 billion on renting offices for 31 public institutions, four ministries operated in rental facilities at an annual cost of Rwf721 million, but this increased significantly.
A recent Cabinet meeting endorsed a strategy to manage government buildings, raising questions. But Mr Nsanzineza said this is meant to shift responsibility of management of government buildings from the institutions that occupy them to those that are more competent and in position to handle their management.
Change of tack
He said the Ministry of Infrastructure and Rwanda Housing Authority had concentrated on constructing new government buildings and refurbishing old ones, leaving management to user institutions, which left many buildings mismanaged.
“We are now updating the database of government buildings, their state and assessing the space, for instance the University of Rwanda in Huye has a number of idle buildings,” said Mr Nsanzineza.
The government is the preferred tenant by real estate practitioners because it takes up space for lengthy periods and is reliable in terms of payments, making it easier for the property owners to access credit.
In the past two years,f the government has completed two office complexes — one in Kimihurura near the Prime Ministers office and another one in Kacyiru near Umubano Hotel.
The Albert building right opposite RDB at Gishushu will be purchased by the government upon completion.
The government is also embarking on construction of the National Intelligence and Security Services, Ruhengeri hospital and others, as it strives to close the gap of the demand for office space.
The space rented by the government has been shrinking over the past 10 years, and last year it stood at 40,000 square metres.