The Ministry of Trade Commerce and Industry (Minicom) yesterday closed down six businesses in down-town Kigali and Nyarutarama over their failure to pay fines imposed upon them for not meeting established trade requirements. This was confirmed yesterday by the ministry’s Internal Trade Service.
Led by the minister, Minicom officials recently embarked on a random business inspection in the city to ascertain whether businesses had conformed to the law governing internal trade.
They have in the process paid surprise visits to many shops and fined traders who had not shown prices on their products, had not registered their businesses or printed their invoices and receipts.
“Yes, we closed their businesses. Some of them did not look for the requirements we asked for and they have spent eight days without paying their fines,” Gaudence Mukamurenzi in charge of Internal Trade with the ministry said as she confirmed the closures.
She said that some of the traders whose businesses were shut down were operating from downtown’s Rubangura House and Union Trade Centre (UTC) while others had their businesses in Nyarutarama’s MTN Centre in Gasabo District.
“We will reopen their businesses after they bring us receipts showing that they paid off their fines. This is a continuous exercise,” she said.
A team led by the minister, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, two weeks ago paid an impromptu visit to several business places in Kigali including the Rubangura House.
During that operation businesspeople who were found without trade certificates were fined Rwf 100,000 while those without printed invoices or price tags on their products were charged Rwf 50,000.
“What we will do next is to close down the business if they don’t comply with the law…many pretend not to know the law but it is our duty to enforce it,” the minister had warned after visiting a number of shops.
The operation followed last year’s country-wide campaigns that government carried out to sensitise businesses on the law governing internal trade in Rwanda.
Officials at Minicom said that the operation aims at professionalizing the business community to ably compete internationally.
An internal trade law passed in 2001 instructs business operators to have trade certificates by registering with government, have printed invoices and specify prices for their goods.
Article 27 of the law stipulates that those who violate the above requirements face fines between Rwf 20,000 and 2,000,000 depending on the business.