Doing business: Rwanda reforms paying off

Government has embarked on serious reforms that have improved the business climate, Frank Twagira, Coordinator, Doing Business Reforms at Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (Riepa) has said.

Government has embarked on serious reforms that have improved the business climate, Frank Twagira, Coordinator, Doing Business Reforms at Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (Riepa) has said.

He said time and costs involved in setting up, running, and closing a business have since drastically improved making Rwanda one of the best investment destinations in the region.

Dealing with licenses

Initially one needed to apply for the location contract and the building permit using two different applications. These have been merged.

"If all the documentation is in order, the construction permit must be acquired in a period of less than 30 days," Twagira said.

Water and power

Customers who need water and power to be connected to their sites use one form.

"It has cut the time to get connected. If everything is done, one gets connected to electricity and water in five days." Twagira said.

Property transfer

The 6 per cent property transfer fee has been abolished. It is only Frw20,000 required to transfer property. The 2.25 per cent of the mortgage registration fee has also been replaced with Frw20,000.

Trading across boarders

A special desk handling imports that come in under the Riepa certificate has been created. It is to facilitate pre clearance and prepayment system before the goods arrive.

"Presently there is a single payment point for Magerwa, Rwanda Bureau of Standards and Customs which has reduced the queues in banking halls.

The green and the blue channels to facilitate importers have been introduced. The blue channel requires pre clearance audit while the green one is used by clients with good compliance records.

To facilitate payment of taxes, amounts beyond Frw500,000 are paid by certified cheques.

"This has minimised long queues in banks and has mitigated the risk of carrying large sums of cash," according to Twagira. Regarding employing workers, he revealed that the labour code is to address this indicator. And he is optimistic that the Commercial Courts will play an important role in enforcing of contracts and dealing with closing of business when bankrupt. "We look very much at engaging the private sector and other agencies that have a role to play," he said.

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