Ahead of the 2012 World Bank Report to be released on October 20, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has released a list of the key reforms carried out this year, expected to boost the country’s ranking.
The World Bank recognised Rwanda as the world’s top reformer in its 2010 Doing Business report. Rwanda moved an incredible 76 places from 143 in 2009 to 67 in 2010 to become the first sub-Saharan country to achieve this.
Ranked at 58th globally in the 2011 World Bank Doing Business Report, Rwanda technically jumped 12 places from 67th position in 2010, making the country the second best global reformer.
In a bid to continue with the improvement, government this year put in place reforms in eight out of the 10 indicators required by the World Bank to register growth.
According to RDB, the business reforms are part of the Government’s wider efforts to promote Rwanda as a business and investment destination, in order to drive the growth of the private sector and generate wealth.
RDB together with other government institutions has carried out reforms, among other areas, on starting business, dealing with construction licenses and property registration.
“On starting a business, in order to further eliminate or shorten unnecessary procedures one can now register their business online at http://org.rdb.rw/.”
“In addition, there has been a reduction in business registration fees from Rwf 25.000 to Rwf15.000 for those registering physically,” RDB announced.
The simplified business registration and reduction of registration fees as well as the online services are expected to encourage more businesses to formalise thus contributing to economic growth and wealth creation.
According to RDB also, dealing with construction licenses has been eased, with a one stop centre for construction licenses that began operations in 2009 which has merged all applications and inspection for water, telephone and electricity with all applications and inspection for construction permits for all commercial projects.
“This has reduced the number of procedures from 14 to six and total time it takes to 98 days,” RDB says.
According to the government body, the aim is to reduce inefficiencies in the system and minimise the administrative burden/costs of compliance to acquire licenses while encouraging investment in the construction sector that is a key source of growth to the economy.
More reforms have been made in the area of getting credit with the licensed private Credit Reference Bureau (CRB Africa) strengthening its operations to include historical information beyond two years.
All commercial banks and eight microfinance banks have subscribed to the bureau and are currently buying credit reports.
The Implementation of Rwanda Integrated Payments Processing System (RIPPS) was completed which enables Automated Transfer System (ATS) for the secure interbank transfer of payments as well as a Central Securities Depository (CSD).
According to RDB, cross-border trade has greatly improved between Rwanda and Uganda through the 24 hour one stop border post at Gatuna in addition to the one in Gisenyi on the Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo border.
Electronic scanners were installed at Gatuna, Rusumo and Gikondo while import duties have been revised by Rwanda Revenue Authority.
In addition to this, only three mandatory documents including commercial invoice, packing list and bill of landing or airway bill are now required for import duties, improving the movement of cargo across borders while boosting trade within the region.
Other reforms have been realised in tax payment processes as well as within the legal framework area, with the arbitration law gazetted and laws on insolvency this year.
“We do not carry out all these reforms as an end in themselves but as a foundation for a deeper and more comprehensive agenda that will make it much easier for the business community to operate here,” said John Gara, the RDB chief executive, on the reforms.