As part of the ongoing Government of Rwanda reforms to improve the business climate in the country, major reforms have been instituted that decrease bureaucracy in construction, ensure timely electricity provision for investors, reduces the amount of time exporters spend at customs and reduce legal backlog.
To further communicate the 24 reforms that were implemented across eight indicators in 2018, the Rwanda Development in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Rwanda Energy Group (REG), Rwanda Revenue Authority and City of Kigali held a media breakfast today.
In his welcome address, the Rwanda Development Board Chief Operating Officer, Emmanuel Hategeka, said;
“Ten years ago in 2008, the Government embarked on a strong agenda to transform our business environment in order to boost increased investment and private sector growth.
One of the key tools that we relied on to guide this transformation is the World Bank Doing Business global report. The Doing Business report is a flagship World Bank publication which measures the relative ease of doing business across 190 economies using a set of 10 indicators that track the entire lifecycle of a business-what it takes to start, run and grow a business in a given country through the lens of an SME”.
“Through strong leadership and consistent commitment to reforming the business environment, Rwanda implemented numerous business reforms over the last ten years”, he noted.
Among the reforms are the following;
Today, a new software application that can be installed on any electronic device has been introduced, to replace the electronic billing machine in processing value added tax (VAT) invoices. This system will eliminate the cost implications of buying an EBM machine, as it is now free and easy for the end user.
In dealing with construction permits, buildings are now categorized according to the nature and magnitude of the anticipated risk and this therefore determines which projects must undergo a full or partial Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Geotechnical studies for buildings that fall in category DB i.e. not exceeding 200 square meters and 2 floors has been eliminated, as well as topographic surveys for all types of buildings.
Another reform in dealing with construction permits is the removal of the requirement to fill a form notifying the One Stop Center at RDB of the commencement date of the project. Water connection now also takes two weeks, down from the previous 30 days.
Getting electricity connection in Rwanda is now at the touch of a button, reducing the number of days from 34 to 20. The recently launched automated system also records and monitors power outages, improving transparency in the reliability of supply of energy in Rwanda.
In 2017 Rwanda was ranked as the 6th easiest place to get credit globally and despite this performance, the Government of Rwanda continues to make reforms in improving the country’s global standing, the recently launched mobile application provides credit history and information of every borrower within eight days.
Credit coverage for the adult population was recently increased from 19.5% to 22.4% as an increase in the number of student loans are covered by credit reference bureaus.
In paying taxes, it now takes five hours to file for VAT (Value Added Tax) since the introduction of the automatic VAT reconciliation online process. This advancement comes with the reduction of tax audit procedures and the opportunity to correct erroneous information entered after the deadline date.
As the Government of Rwanda is also focused on reducing the trade deficit by increasing exports, certain reforms such as the issuance of an online certificate of origin, the introduction of a risk based approach in inspection of exports, joint inspection of both exports and imports by agencies, and extension of working hours at Gatuna and Rusumo borders were introduced to reduce time and cost implications for investors.
Inenforcing contracts, a new law on civil, commercial, labor and administrative procedures was passed with a provision for small claims procedures. Another reform includes a law limiting the grounds for adjournment for unforeseen and exceptional circumstances. Lastly, on resolving insolvency a new law particularly in relation to out of court voluntary mechanisms and individual bankruptcy was passed.
In the keynote address, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Vincent Munyeshyaka, committed the Government of Rwanda to more reforms t business environment increasingly competitive for our local businesses and foreign investors alike.
“We must remain engaged with our private sector, understand the reforms needed to further growth and dynamism in the sector and uncover opportunities that will unleash the full potential of our private sector.
To the implementing institutions and the Doing Business Coordinating team at RDB, while Rwanda has made significant progress in our doing business reforms journey I urge you to double your efforts. Rwanda has high ambitions as do many other economies and the space of global trade and investment is becoming extremely competitive. As such, we must always ensure that our nation is able to compete among the best.
As we aim to become an upper middle income economy by the year 2035, the growth levels required to achieve this can only be attained if the private sector is the engine driving growth. We therefore cannot become complacent, we must do more and better to enable our private sector”.