As Rwanda registers tremendous developments that earned her positive international recognition into the East African Community and later scooping membership in the Commonwealth, there is always need to effectively compete with member states.
This cannot only mean membership, but copying with steps which enables uniform development with other members.
Amongst the strategies which Kigali city has implemented is the 24 hour operation not only in the city centre, but beyond.
However, it is clear that the system is still experiencing a snail pace in the business community despite the measures put in place to promote the culture as KCC Public Relations officer Bruno Rangira puts it.
He says, “To ensure that business operators at night are safe we have managed to light the streets, tighten security and convinced public transporters to also operate as a means of providing ready means of customers with their goods.”
However, it is important to note that the system requires more than this. It also calls for other stakeholder’s commitment which also includes opening borders to operate 24 hours.
According to Hassani, conductor working with Kampala Coach Transport Company there is a need to open borders so that people can conduct business any time than the current operation that stops before mid night.
According to him, buses and other business operators are restricted to only operate the time they are able to cross to various destinations.
“Because I operate from Uganda to Burundi like any other operator in the transport business, I am not able to connect to Rwanda after 9p.m because borders are closed at 9p.m,” he said.
“Imagine the 24 hours system of operation is being emphasized in the city yet the border, which brings business, closes at 9p.m.”
According to Hassani, like any other business the border can as well have staff working in shifts to ensure that people have access to services any time they need it.
He cites several incidents where business operators have always suffered and increased the costs of movement because borders are closed.
Betty is a business lady dealing in second hand shoes from Uganda to Rwanda. She says that although the business community is being emphasized to change and adopt working 24 hours, it does not only require the business community, but all stakeholders who complete business operations.
“I have ever faced problems at the border which forced me with other business colleagues to change our business schedule after incurring extra costs on our travel,” she said.
She explained that she crossed from Uganda at about 10p.m; unfortunately she could not connect to Kigali despite having special transport means because her travel document could not be approved.
“It was just 9p.m Rwandan time but I could not move to Kigali since my travel documents could not be approved as officials had left. Besides the disappointment, I had to incur more expenses on accommodation on the Ugandan side and failed to supply my customers the following day.”
There is need to check and implement the necessary and possible measures or strategies to make the 24 hours operation successful based on its positive impact on other countries in the region.