RDB to sensitise public on business law reforms

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will soon embark on a countrywide awareness drive to sensitise the public about recent business-related  law reforms.
A dealer delivers milk in Kigali. Many traders do not know how some of the business-related laws affect or ease their operations.  The New Times / File photo
A dealer delivers milk in Kigali. Many traders do not know how some of the business-related laws affect or ease their operations. The New Times / File photo

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will soon embark on a countrywide awareness drive to sensitise the public about recent business-related  law reforms.

Louise Kanyonga, the RDB registrar general, said continuous sensitisation helps people understand the laws, especially when there are amendments or new laws enacted. She said the sensitisation drive that will run for 12 months would go down to the district level.

Claire Akamanzi, the RDB acting chief executive officer, said law reforms, such as the law on commercial recovery and settling of disputes arising from insolvency, have made company registration and corporate governance easy. They also provide a window for lending to the housing market.

“It now takes only six hours for one to register a company and 24 hours to get an investment certificate. All this is possible because of the 14 commercial law reforms we adopted,” Akamanzi said during the just-ended investment services forum.

In the commercial justice sector, the government introduced reforms that strengthen the legal framework. The new and standard company law boosts investor protection and also makes mandatory it for directors to immediately disclose personal interest in any firm or deal they may be involved in.

Tonny Omara, the Brand Revolution managing director, the communications firm contracted by RDB to conduct the awareness campaign, said they were currently identifying communications gaps to develop a strategy that will guide the drive.

Silas Kanamugire, the TradeMark East Africa director for trade facilitation and transport, said though the laws were pro-business, people needed to know how they will ease their operations. “The law reforms could be good, but might not serve their purpose because people do not know them,” he noted.

Kanamugire hailed the introduction of online business registration, saying it was cost-effective and a huge boost to doing business. 

Sanjeev Anand, the Banque Commerciale du Rwanda managing director, said the sensitisation should cut across, covering both local investors and foreign investors.

“Rwanda has the best business laws and legal framework on the continent, especially when you look at the Commercial Court system. This should build confidence among investors. It’s, therefore, upon RDB to exploit this fact and create awareness about these issues.”

Mohamed Mazimpaka, the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, said it was vital for RDB to keep monitoring the laws, arguing that the business environment is always changing.

“It’s important to study the impact the laws could have on businesses because what is a good law today might be unfavourable tomorrow,” Mazimpaka noted.

According to 2013 World Bank Doing Business report, Rwanda was in the top 10 global reformers out of 183 countries assessed by the bank. It is the fourth easiest place to do business in sub-Saharan Africa after Mauritius, South Africa and Botswana, and second after Georgia among the countries with the highest number of reforms over the last five years globally.  

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