Business round-up

BCR freezes mortgage financing The Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR) has temporarily suspended mortgage financing, a top official has revealed.
BCR to freeze mortgage financing
BCR to freeze mortgage financing

BCR freezes mortgage financing
The Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR) has temporarily suspended mortgage financing, a top official has revealed.

The bank’s Managing Director, Sanjeev Anand said that the product has been paused owing to the internal portfolio gap.

“We financed mortgage beyond our portfolio ceiling by 50 percent,” he said.

The current value of mortgages is over Rwf4 billion yet we had a ceiling of Rwf2 billion.

Anand however revealed that the Actis owned bank will continue financing mortgages subject to

The product finances the construction, buying or extension of houses over a maximum period of 20 years.

The move has scared off real estate dealers since most of their sales are through mortgages.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DN International, Nathan Loyd said that this will definitely have an impact on the market.

Deadline for large taxpayers to certify tax returns extended
The deadline for large tax payers to certify tax returns for the fiscal year 2008 has been extended to December. 2009. Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) had previously set end of June as the deadline for all large taxpayers to have presented certified financial statements.

This means that uncertified copies must be replaced by the end of year.

Bumbakare Celestin, the Commissioner for Domestic Taxes Department at RRA said that this will facilitate the work of auditors and encourage professionalism within the business community.

“Providing certified copies will help to avoid disputes between the RRA and taxpayers,” he said, pointing out that the exercise will also help to minimise errors in the tax payer’s books of account.

However Fred Mujuni, Accountant General of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda (ICPAR), the body charged with carrying out the exercise said that they are in the process of training staff that will carryout auditing.

He also noted that the certified copies of financial statements will reduce disputes between RRA and taxpayers, leading to appeals.

EAC confirms Rwanda, Burundi readiness to join ‘Customs Union’
The East African Community (EAC) Directorate of Customs and Trade has confirmed the readiness of Rwanda and Burundi to join Customs Union that commences the on the 1st of July 2009.

According to a statement by the EAC Secretariat, the Directorate undertook a mission to the two countries this month to assess the level of preparedness on the implementation of the Customs Union.

“All the government institutions and officials in charge of implementing the Customs Union, as well as the private sector that we met, were very ready for 1st July”, Peter Kiguta the Director General of Customs and Trade   is quoted in the statement.

The official launch of the Customs Union protocol will take place on 6 July concurrently in the respective countries. By implementing the Common External Tariff, the tariff regime of Rwanda will be harmonised along with the other EAC partner states.

However, the government has projected   a revenue loss of Rwf12.2 billion as it joins the Customs Union.  

The launching of the EAC Customs Union is a culmination of Rwanda and Burundi’s integration into the EAC.

Private sector urged to utilise ICTs
For the private sector to reap more from their business, they must adopt to the use of science and technology, as this will enhance their competitiveness.

Francis Gatare, the Chief Economist in the President’s Office said that the response from the private sector is slow despite government efforts to promote the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the country.

Gatare said that the use of ICT can greatly enhance competition by facilitating them to add value to their products and services and in turn increasing the profitability of their businesses.

He argued that  widespread  use of STIs in the country  will  not only increase  productivity of the private sector  but also  help the country to achieve its vision of being an “Economic Hub” by the year 2020.

However for the country to achieve its Vision 2020 that includes becoming a middle come country, an annual per capita income of $ 900 from current $315, the economy will need to grow to a 7 fold.

Urwibutso introduces new products

Urwibutso Enterprises, a local industry has introduced carrot juice and passion fruit seed oil as some of the new products.

Nzakizwanimana Jean Baptiste, the company’s Chief Agronomist said that the 0.5 litres of both products take about a whole year to expire.  Prices are yet to be discussed for both carrot juice and maracuja seed oil.

The products have been approved by Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) and will be marketed in the upcoming Rwanda International Expo.

Urwibutso Enterprises is the company that is known for producing and processing Agashya juice brands.

Rwandans learn from Singapore
A delegation from Rwanda left for Singapore to build skills and programme for sub-Saharan Africa.

The visit organised by the World Bank Human Development Department for the Africa  (AFTHD)  in  partnership  with  the  government  of Singapore is the Third  South-South  Study  visit on skills and knowledge  development  for growth in Africa.

More than 35 practitioners and ministers representing different sectors from 6 sub-Saharan Africa, together with  World Bank staff, will are taking part in this week-long event.