KIGALI - Local investors have welcomed the recent government decision to initiate a process of removing work permit fees on foreign professionals.
Speaking on Monday night after meeting President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro, the investors said that the move will allow them to import foreign professionals to further the sector.
The Chairman of the Private Sector Federation (PSF) Robert Bayigamba said: “We specifically thanked the President for this initiative because we are in sheer need of foreign experts if we are to compete on the regional market, now that our country has entered the East African Community,” Bayigamba said.
Bayigamba, who was flanked by leading local investors during the meeting with the President, said that there was need of being proactive on behalf of the investors given the step already taken by some countries like Kenya.
Kagame disclosed the plan of lifting work permits during last month’s Commonwealth Business Forum which was held in the Ugandan capital Kampala ahead of the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).
Kagame told the Forum that the decision to waive the permits and other employment restrictions is partly in the spirit of the East African common market that will formalise free movement of goods, services and people.
Bayigamba said that other areas discussed with the Head of State during the six-hour meeting included problems investors face giving an example of unfriendly taxation policies.
They also discussed on other modalities on how the private sector can play a role in enhancing the country’s industry sector.
“With Rwanda recently ranked 150th globally in the industrialisation, we need to identify what all parties concerned which in this case is the government and the private sector to improve because we feel we can do better than that,” Commerce Minister, Protais Mitali, who also attended the meeting, said. It was agreed that the President meets with the investors twice annually.
He said that the President, among other things, advised the investors to “invest much in the coffee industry because there is market ready for Rwandan coffee.”
The meeting took place two days after Kagame officiated at an award-giving ceremony for most outstanding investors in the region, during which a Kenyan firm pocketed $100, 000.
Two local investors, Gerald Sina of Urwibutso Enterprises and Tele 10’s Eugene Nyagahene got $50, 000 each.