The Minister of Infrastructure, Ernest Nsabimana, has said that Rwandans who want construction permits, now have access to information in the online-based Building Permit Management Information System (BPMIS), which allows them to monitor the progress on their request. ALSO READ: Construction permits to be issued online Before, the access to building permit information in the system was a preserve of an architect or engineer working on a resident’s construction project. Nsabimana made the disclosure while appearing before members of Parliament during a plenary sitting in the Lower House. The session was hearing the Minister’s explanations to issues in BPMIS that were identified by the Auditor General’s performance audit. One of those issues was the delay in the issuance of construction permits, yet the residents (construction project owners) who needed them were not given explanations why that was the case. Minister Nsabimana said that such a problem was caused by the fact that there was no planned way in which a person can follow up their request to file in the system. Instead, he said, all the information was in the control of an engineer or an architect, who had to work on the resident’s construction permit file. Nsabimana indicated that such a situation created a loophole for corruption. The issue of residents’ lack of access to the online building permit system was also exposed by the Office of the Ombudsman’ activity report for the fiscal year 2021-2022 report, as one of the loopholes for corruption in the construction sector. To help address the problem, the Office of the Ombudsman recommended that the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Rwanda Housing Authority should review the BPMIS, by including an element where the architect who requests a permit and the resident they represent, can access information about what was done on the request file. “We found that they were the ones who had all the information, and that even led to corruption where the engineer could come and lie to you that your request was rejected, or has a given problem,” Nsabimana said. “If a person was in Belgium, and had an engineer here in Kigali, the engineer would tell them that the file had problems and wouldn’t be processed, unless they did something,” he said, pointing out that “there was a kind of wall and the project owner could not know what was happening behind it”. Nsabimana told lawmakers that in 2021, a team of digital officers was set up at the Ministry of Infrastructure, indicating that it is mandated to improve the system. Among the reforms made to the system, he said, are addressing the residents’ access to the system, and putting it in different languages, including Kinyarwanda; and changing its name from BPMIS to kubaka.gov.rw. This, he said, was meant to make it user-friendly to the residents. ALSO READ: Kigali city eases process to acquire building permit Meanwhile, Nsabimana said that the system helped Rwanda rank well in easing businesses, by issuing construction permits to investors within 30 days.