A Japanese venture capital firm operating in the country now only awaits land from government to start the construction of the much-anticipated cross-border market at Cyanika in Burera District.
The $4 million (about Rwf2.7 billion) market, to be constructed by Noguchi Holdings, is expected to reduce informal cross-border trade in this area that shares a border with Uganda.
“The government is ready to avail land to the company as an incentive because this is an important infrastructure for us. We have already agreed with concerned institutions to identify government land so we avail it to the investor and if they find it not enough, the company should be facilitated to expropriate residents around,” said Francois Kanimba, the minister for trade and industry.
Kanimba was yesterday visiting the border post where he presided over a meeting that brought together government officials, the business community and private sector, among others, to chart the construction of the market.
He said the new market will have a packing facility for cargo trucks crossing the border. The facility will have a revenue check-point where goods will be cleared instead of having them
driven to Kigali for the same revenue operation.
The Cyanika cross-border market will also have a bonded ware-house, a parking facility and administration infrastructure, among others, which officials said would ease business at the border.
A committee to identify the land was selected and tasked to have the results by the end of this October.
Kanimba urged Noguchi Holdings Company to provide an architectural design of the project and roadmap for implementation and be ready to break the ground by November.
If the construction kicks off in November, the head of the company believes it will take a year to have the market operational.
“The investor is willing to start construction as soon as the land is available, the money is already available. We urged the company to put in effort to ensure the project is at least at 30 percent completion by June, next year, because the district made this part of their target in its 2013/2014 performance contract (Imihigo); the company said they will exceed this target,” Kanimba said.
Cutting the red tape
Ben Kagarama, the commissioner-general of Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), said Cyanika cross-border market will go a long way in “cutting the red tape,” because people will not have to go to Kigali to have their goods cleared.
“Since the private sector has shown interest, RRA and other institutions are committed to support the project in any way we can,” Kagarama said.
An estimated 150 heavy trucks cross Cyanika border every day and all need to clear their goods in Kigali, including those that are destined further west or north of the country.
In June, President Paul Kagame, during his visit to Northern Province, directed relevant government institutions to solve the problems holding Cyanika border-post from developing, adding that there was no need for business people to make unnecessary distances to Kigali for clearance.
Jean Marie Niyonzima, the Nonguchi Holdings Company chief executive, said the project will be beneficial not only to the country, but also to the entire community, where at least 600 people will be employed daily during the construction period.
“Constructing this border market is a viable business venture and returns on the investment will be realised. We will work hard to meet the deadline. Actually we are ready to start construction as soon as we get the land,” he said.
Business operators in Burera and from other districts who attended the meeting welcomed the plan, saying it would ease clearance of their goods both monetary and time factors.