The City of Kigali (CoK) has announced four broad reforms in the construction sector that officials hope will boost service delivery and further ease doing business.
The reforms include scrapping fees on land titles to create room for free leasehold titles, simultaneous issuing of occupancy and construction permits and introduction of a toll free line that will link stakeholders with One-Stop Centre.
Others are minimising days required to issue a construction permit from 30 to 21 days, and combining site lay out with foundation excavation inspections so they are also done simultaneously.
The reforms will come into effect within the next two weeks, City officials said.
The annual average fees on land titles was approximately Rwf70,000.
Lilian Mupende , the director of one-stop centre and urban planning at the City of Kigali, reiterated commitment to having simpler, faster and reliable reforms so as to promote efficiency and cut construction costs tremendously thus making it easy to do business in the city.
“The reforms will enable us to further reduce the number of days it takes to issue construction permit from 30 days to a maximum of 21 days using the new approach of 7-7-6, meaning one will be able to have his permit within 21 days unlike the 10-10-10 we are employing,” Mupende said.
“Also, issuing both occupancy and construction permits at the same time will save costs and create room a more conducive environment for doing business in Kigali; we will also roll out the use of electronic payments where people will use electronic signatures to pay for their construction permits,” Mupende added.
Mayor Fidel Ndayisaba said the City will emphasise the use of latest information and computer technologies to ensure that more reforms that help transform the city are adopted.
He challenged engineers and other stake holders to borrow positive experience from developed cities and have them implemented in the city.
“We are sacrificing the small fees we have been charging on free hold land titles because we believe that development comes first,” Ndayisaba said, urging all stakeholders to do what it takes to make Kigali a world class city.
According to the World Bank doing business report 2014, in the construction category, Rwanda improved slightly from position 122 the previous year to 85 out of the189 countries surveyed.
The City is determined to implement reforms that will ease doing business.
The report showed that Rwanda still has 13 procedures in dealing with construction permits that costs about $375 (about Rwf250,000) to get a permit.
The City has implemented various reforms this year and according to Mupende, the procedure duration has since been slashed to only four.
The cost of acquiring a permit for construction of a residential house currently ranges between Rwf20,000 and Rwf60,000 from Rwf100,000, while that of commercial buildings has been reduced from Rwf625,000 to between Rwf20,000 and Rwf60,000.
Stakeholders welcome reforms Dismas Nkubana, the chairperson of Engineers Council, said the reforms will not only create room for quality work but also reduce on the bureaucracy and act as a cost saving mechanism in the construction industry.
“It’s important that we have these reforms because they will address the challenge of both efficiency and quality work,” Eng. Nkubana said.
Eudes Kayumba, the chairperson of Architects Association of Rwanda, said reforms are timely given the targets of the city master plan.
“Reforms will help drive home the objectives earmarked in the recently launched Kigali master plan,” he said.
Fred Rwihunda, who heads the Institute of Engineers, said his organisation will play its role in categorising projects and professionals to identify desirable expertise to implement the multiple projects in the booming construction sector.
“We want to complement reforms with capacity building so as to drive home quality work,” Rwihunda said.