Owners of advertising boards in the city have two weeks to bring down billboards and other outdoor advertisements that do not comply with gazetted standards and by laws of outdoor advertising.
The latest two-week notice follows an earlier instruction memo sent out to all advertisers in the city through their districts authorities in December last year giving them six months to comply with the bylaws which were gazetted in 2013.
The six-months grace period expired in June 2016.
The two-week extension was agreed by the City of Kigali authorities and advertisers through their association, according to the City Mayor Monique Mukaruliza.
Following the lapse of the duration extended to advertisers, the city management last week pushed the advertisers along the road to the Airport to bring them down.
About 27 billboards managed by seven advertising firms have so far been affected in the process.
Mukaruliza said that having received prior communication, the advertisers were well aware that they were breaching agreed upon bylaws.
The new bylaws and standards are to ensure safety, order and that the outdoor advertisements are in line with the city beautification programmes.
In regard to safety, Mukaruliza said that some of the billboards posed a risk to passersby in the event of rains due to how they were installed or long periods without maintenance and repairs.
Other billboards, the mayor said, had done little to improve the face of the city as they are too ‘squeezed’ up in one area.
About 80 billboards and outdoor advertisements are expected to be affected in the process.
As the advertisers take up time to bring down billboards that are not complaint with set standards, Mukaruliza said that the city authorities together with the association of advertisers would agree on modalities of implementation of the standards.
The mayor however said that the pulling down of billboards does not mean that billboards will no longer be allowed long the airport road or other venues across the city.
“Soon we will have new billboards, even along the road to the airport. The billboards will however have to meet the set standards,” she said.
An exercise to map out new locations of the advertisements is set to be completed in coming days in readiness for new structures.
Among the characteristics the new billboards are expected to meet include size requirements, spacing and safety among others.
The mayor said that it was in the interest of the city to ensure that advertising is profitable for operators and impactful for both advertisers and their clients but added that it should be within standards to ensure order and sustainablity.
Advertisers speak out
Commenting on the developments, advertisers admitted to having been aware of the standards and by-laws as well as compliance deadlines.
Charles Tusubira, the vice-president of the association of advertisers in Rwanda, said that due to the high demand for their services in the first half of 2016, there was hesitance to move to bring the billboards down.
“We were well aware of the standards and had been given prior notice of compliance. The move to bring them down does not come as a surprise,” Tusubira said.
He added that they are closely working with the city authorities to implement the bylaws so that they can elevate the standards of billboards and also cease to work in a disorganised manner which will then translate to more revenues.