Rwanda: Construction Permit Payment Goes Mobile

MAY 12,2014.



The cost of obtaining a construction permit could be reduced as the City of Kigali rolls out a mobile payment system.

The new payment system will be accessible to the nearly four million Rwandans registered on mobile money platforms and they will use the service to pay and receive construction permits with a simple button on their mobile cell phones.

The system, supported by MTN Rwanda, Airtel and Tigo Rwanda, would not only reduce the cost and time of obtaining construction permits, but also make it flexible, Lillian Mupende, the director-general of urban planning and one-stop-centre at the City of Kigali, said during the launch of the platform in Kigali yesterday.

The telecoms companies agreed to transact construction permit payments on behalf of the City of Kigali, in a bid to promote efficiency and further reduce the cost of doing business in the city.

Norman Munyampundu, the general manager of customer operations at MTN Rwanda, said the new arrangement is in line with the company's objective to offer Rwandans affordable and faster services.

"The partnership gives us an opportunity to keep enhancing safe, faster and convenient services to Rwandans; it's now our priority to educate our customers about it so that they can fully understand the benefits embedded in it," Munyampundu said.

Rwanda ranked 85 out of 189 countries surveyed by World Bank doing Business Report 2014 on the indicator of easy accessibility to construction permits.

It costs about Rwf60,000 and 25 days to obtain a construction permit, according one-stop-centre officials.

The new system is, however, not likely to reduce on the number of days it takes to process the permit, nor the price, but officials say it will significantly boost efficiency.

Daniel Barrintos, the head of investment management at Tigo Rwanda, said the new deal is one of facilitating Rwanda toward achieving its economic objectives.

"This is just the first step that we are excited about. The idea is to continue giving Rwanda the first picture on the global scale so that it can achieve its economic objectives," he said.

Brain Kirungi, the head of legal department at Airtel Rwanda, said the idea is to create a cashless economy where every Rwandan can make transactions in the most affordable and convenient way.

"We entered the partnership because we understand and appreciate the need to support urbanisation," Kirungi said.

Public welcome move

Jean Damascene Rutagengwa, a real estate developer, said the initiative will save him time and money.

"It's a great initiative because I am already connected and this will save me a lot time I always spend making payments in the bank," he said.

Donata Uwitonze, a consultant, said that the initiative could attract more investors in the construction and real estate industry, thus bridging the gap in the housing sector.