KIGALI - Following the passing of the May 31 deadline for all businesses registered before April 27, 2009 to re-register, a number of companies are still flocking Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
According to the new Companies Act, it is mandatory for all companies and businesses registered before April 2009 to re-register with RDB and the May 31 date meant that those that did not re-register in time would pay fines.
When The New Times visited RDB yesterday, hundreds of people were still struggling to have their businesses re-registered, with several voicing complaints over the process.
“I have been coming here since Monday. I was told to come back on Friday and I reached here at 9AM but I have just completed the process at 2pm,” said Martin Ndahimana, who also complained that the forms were only in English.
“Some of us are doing businesses but we never went to school,” said Ndahimana, who runs a grocery shop.
Gerard Rutagarama, a businessman also said that people knew about the registration when it was too late and when the deadline approached, they showed up in large numbers overwhelming the registrar’s office.
“If we had known this earlier, we wouldn’t have had any problem but now for the whole week, I have been trying to register my company. I also don’t understand why we are being charged money,” said Rutagarama
“I guess since we are transitioning into a new system which the government initiated, we wouldn’t be the ones to face the cost. If we are to compete favourably with neighbouring countries, we cannot impose such charges on small businesses,” he added
However, according Louise Kanyonga, the Registrar General at RDB, after the law was passed, there was a transitional period of two years given to businesses to re-register.
“When people realise that the deadline towards the end of any exercise is nearing, that is when they show up in large numbers. The first week of May saw an increase in numbers, of about 150 businesses registering daily,” she said
“Towards the end of May, we started receiving over 1,000 people daily. The numbers were overwhelming, had they come earlier, there wouldn’t be any queues. No institution in this country is equipped to handle over 1,000 persons a day,” she added.
Kanyonga said that RDB had announced earlier through various media channels but people only chose to turn up towards the end.
She however admitted that since the forms were only in English, this had complicated the process but said that it is something that RDB is working on with translators endeavouring to offer other versions.
“We recognised this problem. We had received complaints as the registration process progressed and internally, we have procured a firm to do the process, it is ongoing. We want to assure people that we are working hard to make our forms simple for everyone,” she said.
The Companies Act states that the type of company – whether private or public, and the category of the company- whether limited by shares or by guarantee or both, must now be stated. In earlier regulations, it was not necessary.
Kanyonga said that even though the numbers are overwhelming, the deadline will not be extended.
Kanyonga said that businesses which do not re-register will not be recognised by the law.