Kigali City pledges support for 24/7 business culture

City of Kigali Mayor Pudence Rubingisa (right) speaks during the news briefing as Nadine Umutoni Gatsinzi, the Vice Mayor in charge of socio-economic affairs takes notes at the City Hall on Wednesday. Sam Ngendahimana.

A few days ago, Daniel Kalisa, a university student, spent more than one hour at a bank’s entrance together with others waiting for the bank to open. They couldn’t be served before 8:00 a.m.

“My sister, who is in high school, had an exam at exactly 8:00 a.m. and I went to the bank early so that I can save time to travel to her school and give her the bank slip,” Kalisa said.

“I had to call her school’s bursar apologizing so that she could at least sit for the exam. Good enough it went well, but it’s so absurd that banks open that late despite how fast our country is developing.”

The newly elected Mayor of Kigali, Pudence Rubingisa, pledged additional efforts in promoting the business culture of working 24/7, placing infrastructure and public transport on his priorities.

Rubingisa remarked this on Wednesday, August 28, during his inaugural press conference.

The Mayor noted: “Looking at the vision of our city, we can’t ignore the initiative of working 24/7.”

The essence of working 24/7 is justified by its numerous benefits among which are: employment opportunities, efficient service delivery and the climax of these being the development of the economy.

“We will work together with businesspeople and make sure we provide adequate public transport as well as improved infrastructure to help them work efficiently even at night,” the Mayor said, adding that concerns over very few public buses, especially at night, will also be addressed.

Dr Ernest Nsabimana, the City’s Vice Mayor in charge of Urbanisation and Infrastructure said the city plans to construct at least 180 kilometres of roads over the next four years as part of a move to ease transport in Kigali and link it with other areas.

The pledge comes as an emphasis of what Rubingisa had pointed out as his areas of focus after swearing-in as the new Mayor of Kigali.

According to Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF), a lot has been done compared to previous years.

Speaking to The New Times, Théoneste Ntagengerwa, PSF’s Spokesperson said: “In the years of 2000s you couldn’t find any bus beyond 8:00 p.m or even open shops after 10p.m. But today public buses continue up to 11 p.m.”

Ntagengwa mentioned Nyamirambo sector as one of the places where businesses are still open at night, many of which are small scale businesses dealing with fast food.

Teddy Kaberuka, an economic analyst, says that improved infrastructure and transport facilities should go hand-in-hand with some incentives that will be provided to business people.

“The government should also create some mechanisms to encourage business people to work full time. These may include reducing taxes for businesses working overnight or even other incentives to motivate them to embrace a good working culture,” he said

Kaberuka noted that by doing so, business people will get familiar with the practice and that with time, customers will also adapt.

However, Teddy pointed out the need for keen supervision when the 24/7 culture begins taking roots in Rwanda, so that employees will not be used overtime with no additional rewards.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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