5 September 2010

Rwanda: Government Mulls Driving On the Left

Kigali — A yet to be finalised planned switch to Left-Hand-Drive System (LHD) could reduce the shortage of passengers service vehicles, the Ministry of Infrastructure has revealed. Infrastructure Minister, Vincent Karega, confirmed that the move is in full gear and ready for cabinet approval.

The development came after a survey conducted last year by top Ministry of Infrastructure (MINIFRA) consultants indicated that 52 percent of the people interviewed favour the switch to LHD, while 32 percent would prefer to maintain the current system.

"We are almost done with it. We have only been going through some elements but we hope by next week the proposal will be presented to cabinet for approval," said Karega.

According to Karega, if the development is approved, it could solve the shortage of Passenger Service Vehicles (PSV) in the city centre, as it was attributed to the higher cost of LHD vehicles as compared to the conventional RHD vehicles leading investors to shun investment in the transport service .

"If the proposal is approved, Rwandans will be able to buy vehicles from neighbouring countries, especially second hand ones, at cheaper prices thus encouraging investing more in passenger service vehicles," Karega explained.

If the move is approved, the cheaper Left-Hand-Drive cars which government had planned to phase out will be returning to Rwandan roads.

He added that cabinet would discuss various issues basing on the country's interests and those of the East African Community (EAC).

The development is also in line with harmonising traffic rules with the rest of the region. However, according to the study, should the country change to LHD the government will lose 16 percent vehicle import tax revenues.

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