The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Govt Unveils Online Business Licensing Portal

Prospective investors will be able to access licenses allowing them to operate in the country through an online platform launched by government to improve the country's competitiveness in the region and international markets.

Francois Kanimba, Minister of Trade and Industry said that the initiative will help in easing doing business through accessing business licenses online, unlike the current process of procuring it from regulatory authorities.

"The government has set in motion a series of reforms to its business climate to ensure that it remains competitive in the region with regard to facilitating business and promoting investment," he said during the launch of the portal in Kigali yesterday.

He noted that the move is aimed at improving business licensing regime with the objective of reducing the administrative and regulatory burden it poses to business.

"We have been working on streamlining the regulatory framework for business licenses and look forward to sharing this milestone with you today," he added.

The portal which is in a website format will host over 189 licenses that were identified and with detailed information to enable the user to be able to access them online.

"This user friendly site demonstrates Rwanda's commitment to going beyond the Doing Business Ranking and Indicators," he said adding that this will also streamline all parts of the business life for our private sector.

So far the portal provides eight detailed licenses while others will be upgraded.

The available licenses include; Transfer of Land Titles, Clearing Agents, Driving License, Road Worthiness Certificates, Building Permits, and Import License for Drugs, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Tax Clearance Certificate.

Accordingly, the website will be the Rwandan Government's authoritative online source for entrepreneurs seeking information about the licenses and permits required to establish and operate their businesses.

Tim Shark, an expert says that the portal will help cut down costs incurred in processing these certificates and time, the two challenges behind the country's sluggish businesses.

"The website will create efficiency and also help investors who may be interested in investing in Rwanda to access business requirements online," he said

Kaliza Karuretwa, the Director General in charge of Investment Climate at the Ministry of Trade and Industry says, "We calculated the cost and time spent to get certificates resulting into reduction in both administrative costs by businesses and time spent in applications."

Costs incurred in processing the licenses by authorities and administrative costs by business have been reduced with the launch of the website where the total costs incurred in the eight certificates under the review came down to Rwf3.5 billion from Rwf3.8 billion.

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