Government rolls out new Doing Business reforms

With the deadline to review the World Bank Doing Business reforms looming, the Government is rolling out reforms in three sectors to improve the business ecosystem.
The Kigali Heights complex as seen from the former Kigali Business Centre side. The commercial complex hosts banks and malls, among others. (File)

With the deadline to review the World Bank Doing Business reforms looming, the Government is rolling out reforms in three sectors to improve the business ecosystem.

The three reforms are aiming at reducing bureaucracy in construction, ensuring timely electricity provision for investors, and reducing the time exporters spend at customs.

In light of the reforms, Rwanda Energy Group (REG) has introduced a client charter, ensuring that investors are connected to the national grid in not more than 20 days, down from 34 days.

REG customers can also apply online to get connected to the national grid, according to a statement.

To simplify the purchase of the equipment needed for electricity connection such as transformers and cables, REG has set up working mechanisms to work with authorised suppliers to reduce the import costs of the equipment while ensuring the quality of equipment.

 Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency has also set up guidelines governing electricity outages to industries which place sanctions on electricity outages that last more than ten minutes.

These reforms could serve to improve Rwanda’s ranking in getting electricity where the country ranked 119th globally.

To ease the challenges in the construction sector, reforms have been introduced to reduce bureaucracy in obtaining construction permits.

A risk-based approach in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of projects is now in place, as well as the exemption of specific construction projects from carrying out geotechnical studies before construction commences.

Also, under the reforms, businesses will no longer be required to indicate the commencement date of construction before obtaining construction permits.

These reforms will reduce the cost and duration of construction projects in Rwanda.

The indicator featured on 112th position globally in the last World Bank Doing Business Report.

The reforms will also ease export procedures where exporters will now be able to obtain certificates of origin online as well as apply for the phytosanitary certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry online.

This is set to facilitate businesses that export tea, coffee and other agricultural produce.

Commenting on the reforms, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, said that they are set to further introduce new reforms in areas such as insolvency law, contract enforcement and credit monitoring

The reforms could see Rwanda further rise in ranking in the World Bank Doing Business Report where the country ranked 41 globally and second in Africa.

Last year, Rwanda rose 15 places in the 2018 World Bank Doing Business Report to feature in position 41 globally.

Rwanda featured 2nd in the continent behind Mauritius. In the previous year, Rwanda had featured in 56th position globally.

The annual report focuses on 11 main areas that affect business including; the ease of starting a business, obtaining construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.


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