More than six years ago, a businessman scooped a deal to import headgears that were to be used by Taxi-motor riders and their clients. He remains a bitter man.
In 2011, government introduced a requirement for riders of the common transport system called Taxi-Motor to ensure they and those they carry wear headgear. The regulation was meant to improve hygiene, according to official explanations at the time.
Within weeks, a businessman imported seventeen containers of the white headgears. The Taxi-Motor were told they had to buy the headgear and give them to clients freely as part of the service. Each headgear, used only once, cost Rwf50. That turned out too much a cost for the motor taxis.
Despite a police enforcement drive, there was slow adoption of the headgear. A new strategy was deviced to encourage motor clients to buy the headgear themselves. That didn’t work as well.
The authorities gave up. For one Kigali businessman, a disaster was unfolding. Only one container of the headgear was bought.
Six years later, 16 containers remain unused in Rwanda’s main inland cargo handling facility MAGERWA here in Kigali.
The unnamed businessman does not even want to talk about his ordeal. Despite repeated media inquiries, he would rather let the losses bite than go public.
His containers are among hundreds of others carrying other goods brought in by other businesspersons but have not reached the market.
Camerwa director Lambert Nyoni told Kigali Today that they intend to auction the unclaimed good.
“Some good like paint are an environmental danger, and we should be able to take the concerned businesspeople to court for importing such dangerous goods and leaving them there,” he said.
Some importers bring in good but fail to pay taxes – meaning they cannot be released by the tax body. Other cases involve goods which do not meet local standards, according to Magerwa.
The agency said that next week all those cases, including the headgears, will be decided on – either auction them off or destroy them.