Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) will today launch a new system to manage building permits in secondary cities across the country, a step that experts have described as a breakthrough in harmonising the issuance of building permits across the country.
RHA will launch the Building Permitting Management Information System (BPMIS) in Musanze, Northern Province, in collaboration with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) in an effort to fast-track organised housing in the country’s six designated secondary cities.
The secondary cities are Musanze in Northern Province, Rubavu and Rusizi in Western Province, Muhanga and Huye in Southern Province, and Nyagatare in Eastern Province.
Officials at the RHA say the system is designed to allow applicants to submit online permit requests, shorten the time required for one-stop centres to assess, approve and report on permit applications and efficiently provide feedback on sites and plots inspections.
“The new system will bring about more transparency in the issuance of building permits because it will contain clear instructions to follow and it will help us to keep the data that would otherwise be scattered across district offices in the country,” said Eng. Alice Umugwaneza, director of housing inspection unit at RHA, at a news conference in Musanze yesterday.
RHA cooperated with the World Bank’s IFC through the Investment Climate Reform Program in Rwanda to design, test and deploy the system.
The objective of the project is to avail a single online BPMIS to serve all districts. The BPMIS will integrate the only currently existing permitting system, for the City of Kigali, which will undergo upgrades to include new and useful features such as reporting and inspection.
“The new technology will help to harmonise the issuance of building permits across the country. The same way people have drivers’ licences that are similar across the country it will be the same standard with the building permits, they will look alike across the country,” Eng. Umugwaneza said.
Apart from making permitting services more transparent and harmonised, the new system will also reduce time and resources needed by applicants to access permitting services, RHA officials said.
They explained that applicants will now be able to track the progress of their applications online and through SMS and email notifications.
The new system is expected to attract investors in the construction industry and boost their trust and confidence in services delivered by the permitting and inspection entities because it will enhance accountability of staff dealing with permitting and provide a helping hand in reducing informal settlements for acquiring building permits.
Officials also say that the system will improve Rwanda's ranking in World Bank Doing Business Report related to dealing with construction permits.
It will also contribute towards the mitigation of environmental impacts through reduction of use of paper by completely eliminating manual processes and also store data in the national data centre for efficient and secure archiving.