The City of Kigali has launched an online platform for real estate developers and the general public seeking construction permits without queuing at city authorities.
The process is free and paperless. Previously, applicants were required to pay an application fee Rwf 60,000 ($90) and a printed certificate.
Now, the free permit will be issued within 20 days, with a digital signature.
The city issues up to 20 construction permits every month for structure of more than 2 levels and all public buildings. Permits for residential houses are issued by district authorities.
“We started the trial gradually and we are happy the full process is paperless now,” says Merard Mpabwanamaguru, in charge of urban planning and investment promotion at OSC.
An inspection team examines applications before issuing a printed permit. All these steps will be observed, but no papers involved.
Meanwhile he City of Kigali has a housing gap of over 300,000 houses. Mpabwanamaguru says, “We need to speed up this service to bridge the gap in housing industry.”
Fred Rwihunda, the President of Institute of Engineers says, “This will save our time. Previously, it was challenging to track our documents but online process eases storage and tracking.”
The online format was upgraded through Construction Permitting Management Information System (CPMIS), a software that tracks all records on a plot.
Besides a visible text authorizing the proprietor to carry construction activities, the format has a bar-code which includes all the data about the plot. The data will help during inspection.
The $100,000 software, developed by Webmasters Africa, a Kenyan company, was a donation by the International Finance Corporation.
Rwanda is seeking to maximize use of internet by putting most of its services online.
Nine services, including application of birth certificate, land transactions, driving license and criminal record certificate will soon go online.
Penetration of internet in Rwanda has reached 28%, according to Ministry of Youth and ICT.