EDITORIAL: Time of the year when dollar-landlords come out in force

It is Summertime in the Western hemisphere, that time of the year when members of the Rwandan Diaspora return to their roots to recharge their cultural batteries.

Excited youngsters who study abroad will also be on holiday and cafeterias and malls will be filled with their chatter. The money-changers will be a very happy lot, but not like before when electronic payments systems were not internationally linked and visitors were forced to carry a lot of cash.

People with apartments and cars to rent will be jostling with each other to get a piece of the foreign pie. There will be strings of family reunions, a time to catch up.

There is just one catch; landlords will be up to their old tricks; they will hike their prices and charge in dollars. Even office space is quoted in dollars and one wonders what could be more convenient than to quote in Rwandan francs and do away with the useless conversions?

Despite Rwanda being known as a country that quickly and efficiently implements official policy, dealing with the dollar issue in real estate seems to have failed, which is quite surprising.

City authorities should be in a position to put its renting-house in order because there is no difference between dollar-landlords and a Bureau de Change.

The latter is regulated by the central bank (BNR) to keep track of the amount of foreign exchange in the economy and it is highly doubtful that BNR has similar access and oversight over the former’s financial transactions.

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