Doing business: Property registration fee scrapped, more reforms proposed to govt

Property registration fee has been scrapped, paving way for more people to become wealthy in Rwanda.

Property registration fee has been scrapped, paving way for more people to become wealthy in Rwanda.

However cabinet has introduced ‘a flat and more affordable charge’—of Frw20,000.This is to carter for administrative expenses.

 “The 6 per cent mortgage registration fee on the value of the property has been abolished,” Francis Gatare, director general Rwanda Investment and Export Promotions Agency (Riepa) said.  The private sector has been against the fee saying it is exorbitant, slowing business and discourages property transfer in Rwanda.

This is one of the several reforms government agencies dealing with investors have sent to cabinet for approval before the 2009 Doing Business World Bank report is out   in July this year.

The report systematically and objectively measures the time and cost involved in setting up, running, and closing a business in 178 countries around the world. Rwanda is 150th.

Top reformer
But the same report ranks Rwanda one of the top reformers in Africa. The country scored highly when port and terminal handling costs were reduced. Government  liberalised the warehouse services sector. Magerwa is no longer a monopoly. According to the report, competition cut costs by 40 percent. New customs declaration points have accelerated trade.

The report says decentralisation has sped the issuance of building permits.
While the Electrogaz, the water and electricity company reduced delays in getting utility connections easing dealing with licenses.

More reforms
Stakeholders in business are asking for more reforms if the country is to attract more investors and ease doing business. According to a proposal sent to cabinet, the stakeholders, coordinated by Riepa, want the 2.25 percent mortgage registration fee of the value of the mortgage to be abolished.

They instead suggest a very small service fee to cater for administrative expenses to be introduced.

If cabinet approves the reform, many Rwandans will be able to acquire mortgages at cheaper rates and boost the real estate business in the country.

They have also proposed that 30 days be a time limit for approving building permits; land registration to take only 15 days. The stakeholders want customs to be open up 10.00 p.m to ease the movement of people and goods in and out of the country.

Bills should be passed
The stakeholders also want government to expedite passing of, the company bill, contract bill, law on insolvency, bill on negotiable instruments, business registration, the mortgage law, and security interest on immovable property.

The stakeholders have also asked government to fast track the establishment of the Rwanda Commercial Registration Agency by appointing a registrar general.

And finally enact a Presidential decree that requires all government institutions to publish requirements and procedures as well as time frame for delivering services, in the form of client charters.

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