House debates urban planning Bill

PARLIAMENT - Barring government officials from inspecting your construction site may earn you two years in jail, according to a new urban planning bill being debated at committee level in Parliament.

PARLIAMENT - Barring government officials from inspecting your construction site may earn you two years in jail, according to a new urban planning bill being debated at committee level in Parliament.

Penalties include a fine ranging between Rwf 150,000 – Rwf 600,000 and imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years.

The Parliamentary committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is scrutinizing a draft which government has said shall be a cornerstone of the construction industry.

Eudes Kayumba, a consultant with the Ministry of Infrastructure who was defending the bill before the committee, said that the draft law will institute the code of urban planning and construction in Rwanda.

He said that the law shall ensure the construction of safe, well maintained, planned and environmentally sound buildings.

He noted that the construction industry is growing at a high speed calling for its urgent regulation.

Kayumba implored the committee to approve the bill because it will provide the ministry and districts with criteria on issuance of permits.

Contributing to the debate, Parliamentarian Jean Damascene Murara said the penalties were on a high end though his colleagues over ruled his concerns.

Under that draft law, urban areas shall be subdivided into cities which shall account for at least 200,000 inhabitants; municipalities with more than 30,000 inhabitants but less than 200,000 inhabitants and agglomerations with between 10,000 and 30,000 inhabitants.

Kayumba told The New Times in an interview that the law is the first of its kind in the country and shall harmonise professional practice in the construction industry. 

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