Kigali city eases process to acquire building permit

A construction site in Gasabo District, Kigali. City authorities have announced a raft of reforms that will ease the acquisition of a construction permit for anyone wishing to build within the city, a move that is aimed at easing doing business. Nadege Imbabazi.

Kigali city authorities have unveiled a raft of reforms that will ease the acquisition of a construction permit for anyone wishing to build within the city, a move officials say seeks to ease doing business.

The widespread reforms, announced yesterday, are designed to ease criteria for acquiring construction permits, including Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), geotechnical studies, topographic survey, occupation permit and notifications.

As such, procedures required to get a construction permit have been cut from 15 to seven while days within which to acquire a permit have reduced from 113 to 55.

The World Bank said in their Doing Business Report last year that 13 per cent of total cost for putting up a warehouse in Kigali was spent on securing a construction permit.

Acquisition of construction permit is one of the indicators where Rwanda ranked poorly in the Doing Business Report – 112th out of 190 countries globally.

The new reforms show a significant reduction in the cost of a construction permit, from over Rwf3.5 million to about Rwf600,000.

The reforms will come into force with immediate effect, officials said.

According to Parfait Busabizwa, the acting Mayor of City of Kigali, the reforms will significantly improve investment and doing business in the capital.

Furthermore, construction projects that are not in environmentally risky zones will not require the EIA certificate.

This means applicants with such projects with save up to Rwf570,000 that has been going on EIA experts.

Non-storied residential houses and warehouses will no longer require geotechnical studies, which will result into saving some Rwf2 million that applicants have been paying to geotechnical experts.

In areas which are covered by the online Kigali City Master Plan, construction projects will no longer be required to undertake topographic survey because the online version has topographic features for all land uses in all locations,” Busabizwa said.

Such a topographic survey costs US$500.

The conventional notification that applicants needed to submit to City of Kigali upon commencement of construction works has also been scrapped from the list of requirements while the occupation permit and freehold land title will be availed in less than three days from the day of application.

Busabizwa said the city expects to introduce more changes in the near future to make it much easier to invest in the city.

“Five years ago, applicants for construction permits were required to submit bulky paperwork until we introduced an online system and availed online the Kigali City Master Plan in 2013. We have also since established a One-Stop-Centre that handles construction permits,” said Busabizwa.

He urged those with plots of land in the city to expeditiously process the documents to begin construction works since costs and requirements have significantly been reduced.

“Some plots have unfinished structures while others are being used for cultivation yet they are meant for either residential or commercial buildings, which is a threat to both security and sanitation,” he said.

Eng. Fred Mugisha, the city’s director of construction and urban planning, said the City’s One-Stop-Centre has been given more capacity and personnel to improve on their efficiency.

Construction projects in the city increase by almost three times a year, he said.

City officials said Rwanda Development Board played a key role in coming up with the new reforms.


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