KIGALI - Four fundamental reforms making it easier to start a business, deal with construction permits, register property, and trade across borders were put in place this year to enhance doing business in the country.
The Chief Operations Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Claire Akamanzi, announced this during a news conference yesterday.
She said the new reforms will be reason for improving Rwanda’s position in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking.
On starting a business, Akamanzi noted that free online registration was introduced.
She disclosed that for those who register in person, the registration fees have been reduced from Rwf 25,000 to Rwf 15,000.
“The reason we reduced it is because we want more in the informal sector to become formalized,” she explained.
“More than 30 percent of our companies are SMEs and we want to encourage them to move away from informal businesses. We are making it easy for them”.
On registering property, several requirements were eliminated and are now optional.
Notarization of a sale agreement is eliminated. Instead, the signature of a sale agreement can be done at the registry upon submission.
Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza, the director general of the National Land Centre said: “What we are trying to do is make this requirement optional, particularly for commercial and industrial developers.”
“We can exempt them from that but we make sure they sign their agreements before the registrar or deputy registrar when they submit their application for transfer of property,” Nkurunziza said.
A tax clearance certificate is also no longer required from a client. Instead, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) will coordinate with the National Land Centre to provide information on clients’ tax status.
When it comes to dealing with construction permits, several application procedures were merged from 14 to only six, relieving clients of interaction with utility providers.
In a single application, a client can now apply for a construction permit, water connection, electricity and telephone. Inspections and invoices will also be issued simultaneously.
On trade across borders, only three out of eight documents necessary for customs declaration are needed. The three documents are the commercial invoice, the parking list, and the bill of landing or airway bill.
“We want to make it easy for imports and exports – in terms of documentation and procedures,” Akamanzi said.
Those rendered optional include a certificate of origin, health certificate, transit cargo document, terminal handling receipt, and import license.
She pointed out that several other improvements in other areas exist. They include things to do with foreclosure issues, insolvency cases, as well as tax payment.
Rwanda was the best reformer in the 2010 World Bank Doing Business report. It has steadily reformed its commercial laws and institutions since 2001.