KIGALI - The Mayor of Kigali, Fidele Ndayisaba, has reassured owners of businesses operating in residential properties that the city does not intend to close their businesses.
The mayor gave the assurance during a meeting between city authorities and members of the private sector, who operate businesses in premises that are designated for residential purposes.
The meeting followed a December 2010 directive, by KCC, which required businesses, particularly restaurants, bars, hotels, offices, hospitals and pharmacies which were operating in residential premises to either relocate or formally turn the premised to commercial buildings by March 31.
The directive worried some business owners who said that they were given limited time, prompting the Mayor to clarify on the issue, saying that KCC will ensure a “smooth transition” such that businesses are not hurt.
Ndayisaba said that people who claim that KCC is set to close the businesses, had misinterpreted the directive.
“We think that the directive was misunderstood or the information was distorted by some people with the intention of causing panic among the owners of the businesses,” Ndayisaba told The New Times.
“Our intention is not to hurt the business community or ignore the investments made in these businesses. What we want to ensure that whatever we do is done in an organised and planned manner in order to have a modern city that meets all the standards.”
The Mayor said that the City has set standards and regulations which will be honoured if some of the premises are to be transformed into commercial premises. These include, ample parking space, good and sizeable sanitary areas which meet the demands of the clients.
He noted that some businesses, like bars and restaurants, handle a large numbers of clients, yet the premises were initially meant to accommodate a small family.
“We want to see people observe these regulations but of course we don’t expect people to wake up in the morning and do things the way we want them to. We will give them enough time. Our team will follow case by case to know what is needed and in what time,” Ndayisaba said.
“However, the City will not hesitate to take action in cases where we find that people face security or health threats. If it’s an issue of security or hygiene, we will immediately close the premises,” said Ndayisaba.
A team of experts from KCC, the Ministries of Infrastructure, Trade and Commerce, Rwanda Development Board; the Private Sector Federation and the National Land Centre has been put in place to put into effect the directive, whose deadline has been extended to June.