24 April 2018

Rwanda: Transfer of Land Title Goes Online

Photo: New Times
Land registration officers help Kamonyi residents register their property.

The Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority has announced that transactions related to transfer of land title by sale will be done via Irembo portal effective May.

The Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA), has announced that transactions related to transfer of land title by sale will be done via Irembo portal effective May 01, 2018.

Irembo is an e-Government online platform which enables the access and provision of government services in Rwanda.

The new move to automate the transfer of land titles is aimed at effective and efficient land service delivery, according to the authority's statement dated Monday April 23, 2018 signed by the Land Registrar, Esperance Mukamana.

"It is no longer mandatory that people who apply for the transfer of land title by sale at sector level have to also send these applications to district offices. This will effectively be done through Irembo portal--who will transfer the application data to the Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority," a statement reads in part.

Mukamana also added, in a statement that, "effective May 01, 2018, no application relating to the transfer of land title by sale shall be received (handled) at the district level but rather be handled at sector level. Once the transfer has been approved, new land titles will be sent back to the Sector offices from where the applicants will collect them."

She also urged Sector offices to ensure that any issues that would affect these services; relating to internet connectivity, among others should be addressed before the set date approaches.

The transfer of a land title by voluntary sale through Irembo will now take not more than 7 days at the usual cost of Rwf30,000 according to Carole Gwiza, the Product Manager at Rwanda Online.

According to Gwiza, the idea of incorporating the transfer of land titles via Irembo came up around 2015 and it has since been on trial--taking into account users' feedback--until end of last year.

"We received about 7000 applications for the transfer of land title by sale service, which makes it the most sought-after service of all land related services handled by Irembo. This service alone makes 70 per cent of the applications we receive on land matters." Gwiza told The New Times.

Having the service automated will cut about two of the three one had to make to Sector and district offices in pursuit for the transfer of land title, which is "more than 80 per cent of the hustle spared," she said.

"The Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA) will be able to access all the applications through Irembo's backend, do the necessary background checks and respond in 7 days.

Our next development is to make sure that applicants can apply and receive the new land titles online; without necessarily having to go back to Sector offices to get the hard copies. We want everything 100 percent automated and that is what we are working on now," She added.

Gwiza said that online government services are making it easy and fast for Rwandans to access public services but "outdate" legal frameworks especially in land matters are still hampering the rollout of some of these services.

"In some cases, for example, if I sell to you my land today you have to notarize the agreement. The current law says that both the seller and the buyer have to be there physically for the agreement to be notarized. This will be a constraint if one is not available but there should be room to provide power of attorney. If we are to go fully electronic, this is something can be looked into--long into the existing laws and make them fit the new development strategy." She added.

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