EDPRS: BUSINESS REFORMS FUELLING GROWTH PROSPECTS

BY GODFREY NTAGUNGIRA The Ministry of Trade  and Industry’s strategic objectives in line with EDPRS within the area of undertaking and actualizing reforms to stimulate growth has started paying off.Consequently Rwanda has scored highly within the area of how it is perceived in as far as attracting investors is concerned. The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Report’ is one such indicator.

BY GODFREY NTAGUNGIRA

The Ministry of Trade  and Industry’s strategic objectives in line with EDPRS within the area of undertaking and actualizing reforms to stimulate growth has started paying off.

Consequently Rwanda has scored highly within the area of how it is perceived in as far as attracting investors is concerned. The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Report’ is one such indicator.

Rwanda is currently ranked 139th and has scored impressively with a  top-third ranking within sub-Saharan African countries. The score on investor perceptions within investment climate scenario showed an average rating of 79%.This reflects  improvements through the doing business reforms that the economy has embraced .

Key indicators Private Sector Growth

The private sector has been designated as an engine of the country’s transformation prospects. The sector is expected to assist the economy to halve the proportion of the population living in poverty while assisting with actualizing an annual GDP growth of 8% annually.

The private sector is expected to  assist the economy in reducing significantly the balance of payments deficit, and increasing the investment share of GDP from 18% in 2000 to 30% by 2020. Put simply, for these goals to be achieved, a flourishing local private sector is essential.
 
To do so policy has been focused on steadily improving the country’s business environment in a number of areas. As a result, the World Bank has called Rwanda “one of the most active reformers of business regulation worldwide this decade”.

For instance a task force coordinated by RDB and the Rwanda Investment Climate Project (RICP) undertook  business reforms in 2008 focusing on registering of property, dealing with licenses, starting a business and trading across borders.

Under the RICP, commercial courts, the Rwanda Commercial Registration Services Agency (RCRSA) and the Office of the Registrar of Land Titles (ORLT) have been established.
In the coming year, a Competition Authority should be in place as well as intellectual property rights legislation.

Increase the Value of Existing Exports

The EDPRS report also asserts that Rwanda ambitious target of achieving US$161 million revenue from its strategic exports, classified at the time as tea, coffee, horticulture, hides & skins, and minerals is due on course. Rwanda achieved US$185 million from these exports. Furthermore, the 2008 target for revenue from tourism was US$56 million.

The figure achieved was US$208 million, although this was largely due to a new measurement methodology. Export diversification strategy has been developed and finalized; it is still waiting to be validated by the Board of RDB

Regional integration

Rwanda’s integration efforts into the EAC is on course. It has ascended to the East African Community Customs Union. Integrating within the EAC will bring in various forms of advantages. For instance it will now be in a better position to negotiate as a member of the EAC in global trade agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

The Rwanda Bureau of Standards in partnership with MINAGRI plans to develop a one-stop-shop for export standards, including Sanitary and Phytosanitary testing, certificates of origin and other export standard support.

However further work is needed to provide potential exporters with clearer information on the standards that they need to meet coupled with direct support for meeting those standards.

Rwanda adapted the RADDEX system to ease cross border trade with its neighbouring countries which facilitates the exchange of information among the EAC member states for improved data sharing.

Rwanda Commercial Registration Services Agency

Previously the registration of a companies was been done by court clerks.

It was a cumbersome process. In May last year, however, the Rwanda Commercial Registration Services Agency (RCRSA) was created, whose modernized and computerized business formalization greatly simplified the procedure. Currently incorporation of a company upon submission of all required documents takes on average 24 hours.

Better Legislative framework for regulating Companies

In the spirit of creating a better place to do business parliament adapted a number of bills which upon being passed into law will ease how companies operate within the economy.

These include Draft Contracts, secured transactions and insolvency bill, Draft Companies Act,

Draft Business Registration Bill and Draft Bill on negotiation instruments.

Developing the Industrial Master Plan

Trade and industry ministry has come up with the country’s first industrial master plan. The plan has up-to-date information about the country’s industries. It forms a basis for planning and implementing of strategic industrial policies, either private or public  thus accelerating industrial development.

The plan was finalized and validated at national level on 25th November 2008, and approved by the cabinet immediately thereafter.

With the industrial master plan, it is therefore hoped the document will ease the ministry’s work of managing and improving of domestic trade as well as highlighting investment opportunities in the sector.

With this Rwanda would enhance socio-economic development in the country, by identifying opportunities to reduce disparities in entrepreneurship, ownership of productive assets and employment.

The Tourism master plan

The Review and development of the Tourism master plan is under preparation since November 2008. A study report identified main challenges the country needs to overcome in order to develop a more sustainable and competitive tourism industry.

The master plan will identify main challenges the country needs to overcome in order to develop a more sustainable and competitive tourism industry.

Upon its completion the plan will turn Rwanda into a world-class tourism destination, with a developed tourism industry that provides quality facilities and services to visitors, the number of tourists visiting the country will swell considerably hence increasing revenues.

Efforts will be directed towards improving infrastructure and other facilities used by tourists such as roads, hotels, airports, recreational facilities, shopping malls, resorts, cultural centres and many other products aimed at attracting and making tourists more comfortable.

Rwanda is blessed with iconic tourist products including a range of fauna and flora, scenery, good climate, rich culture and history which could be all utilised to generate revenue from tourists.

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