Investing in Rwanda to improve following construction permit reforms

The workshop brought together different stakeholders from the construction sector including architects and engineers

Investing in Rwanda to improve following construction permit reforms

Investing in Rwanda is set to improve following a number of reforms pertaining to the construction permit process.  The reforms announced today by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the City of Kigali and the Rwanda Housing Authority during a workshop for local construction sector professionals will reduce costs and streamline procedures in obtaining construction permits.

Opening the workshop, the Mayor of Kigali City, Marie- Chantal Rwakazina said:

The Doing Business report currently ranks Rwanda as the second easiest place to do business in Africa and the 29th globally. Therefore, this year we focused on implementing reforms in indicators where Rwanda is ranked poorly, notably- dealing with construction permits where we ranked 106th. For building projects that are not large scale or complex, you will no longer need to submit a geotechnical study, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report or topographic survey. As a result, the number of procedures involved in getting a construction permit will reduce from 15 to 9, the number of days to obtain construction permits will reduce from 113 to 57 days while the cost will reduce from 12% to just 2.2% of the building value.”

In his remarks, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of RDB, Emmanuel Hategeka, noted:

The construction industry is indispensible to the development of Rwanda’s economy and in line with our vision of having a private sector led economy; we are constantly working to make the dealing of construction permits easier for developers. The dealing with construction permits indicator holds the biggest potential to improve Rwanda’s doing business environment. We have therefore introduced regulatory changes that will ensure that construction is seamless. With these new reforms, we hope to increase the number of investments in the construction sector and we will continue engaging closely with you (private sector) as we continuously improve the environment within which you do business.

The new reforms include;

1. An amendment by the Ministry of Infrastructure will see elimination of the requirement of geotechnical studies for buildings that do not exceed 1,500 square meters. This means developers will now no longer pay Rwf 2 million and wait 14-days to obtain the document.

2. The second reform is a specification by the Ministry of Environment as to which building projects are obliged to carry out full or partial Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and which ones aren’t. The requirement to obtain an EIA before getting a building permit has been a general rule to all categories of buildings irrespective of the differences in the level of risk caused to the environment. Furthermore, 14 days will be saved because the EIA will be sourced directly from the One-Stop Centre and not through both RDB and One Stop Center as was previously done.

3. The third reform is an elimination of the requirement for developers to notify the One-Stop Center as to when they commence construction. With the removal of the notification form, that was previously filled (taking a day), a developer can commence construction whenever they get a building permit.

4. The last reform that was announced is the elimination of the requirement to have City of Kigali planners and the Rwanda National Police jointly involved with engineers to carry out final inspection of buildings.Under the reform, private engineers are able to pass a building’s safety standards and issue its certificate of completion. This reform will eliminate the process of government carrying out final inspections as well reducing time involved in the process.

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