The City of Kigali has instructed owners of 107 residential houses in the city used for business purposes to relocate after they failed to comply with a directive to redesign the structure to suit commercial purposes.
Speaking to The New Times, Bruno Rangira, the Director of Communication and Media in the city confirmed that the city has written to the business owners asking them to stop operating in such houses.
Out of the 270 residential facilities whose owners were directed to submit architectural designs to Kigali Construction One-Stop Centre to modify usage, only 163 complied.
Most of the businesses to be affected are restaurants, bars, offices and pharmacies, which operate in residential facilities that lack adequate parking, toilets and sewage systems and are considered as unhygienic and dangerous to the public users.
Some of the affected businesses include Africa Bite and Micky Mouse restaurants both based in Kimihurura.
The move to close the facilities follows a July meeting of various government institutions where September was set as the deadline for the concerned property owners to have submitted to Kigali construction centre, project proposals for modification.
The meeting chaired by Albert Nsengiyumva, the Minister of Infrastructure brought together Kigali city Council officials , ministries of Infrastructure and Trade and Industry, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Private Sector Federation and the National Land Centre.
The officials, during the meeting, agreed that all residential structures being used for business, without necessary requirements, but with enough space for extension, will be given one year, effective October, to develop and implement their architectural designs that were to be approved by the construction centre.
However, residential houses which are in a sorry state and pose threat to security and health of their occupants or clients and can not make any necessary refurbishment while in use, faced immediate closure.
“We have written to all those who refused to comply with the directive to close their houses with immediate effect. No business is allowed to operate in those houses until they do as required,” Rangira said.
The organic law determining the use and management of land in Rwanda, and the lease contracts issued to land owners stipulate that it is prohibited to change use of land or facilities built on land, without approval from relevant authorities.