All businesses and nongovernmental organizations are required to operate from areas specifically designated for commercial and office purposes – a new directive has been announced by the city of Kigali.
Several shops, offices and hotels currently situated in residential zones of the city must until April 1st relocate to commercial zones of the city.
The City of Kigali which is behind the campaign has mapped 910 businesses across the city and they were already given a written notice before end of the year.
Parfait Busabizwa, the vice mayor of city of Kigali in charge of economic affairs said, “every business person will be guided in the relocation process; we shall avail prices of commercial buildings that will fit any category of business person.”
The Rwanda Private sector federation, which, city vice mayor said, is their partner also agrees with this decision.
“We all want to abide by Kigali city Master Plan. People doing business in residential areas should relocate to commercial buildings,” said Gerald Mukubu the PSF spokesperson.
Mukubu disagreed with a concern that, “City of Kigali is favoring ‘big fish’ or big business people who provided the city with big buildings.”
“There is no discrimination regarding business advocacy; we do advocacy whenever necessary and on any person without considering how big his business is,” Mukubu told the media today.
He said, “the decision is in line with assuring security for all businesses and enough space for clients like parking and ventilated rooms.”
Several owners of commercial buildings in Kigali have occasionally criticized tenants operating from homes and wanted government to intervene.
However, most of them were just worried by a low occupancy rate of their buildings which they build on huge loans. Business people operating in residential areas said the decision will negatively affect their businesses.
“The decision is not in our favor; we had already gained an esteemed clientele and relocation of our business will definitely affect us,” a source from Ogopogo restaurant in Kimihurura neighbourhood told KT Press on condition of anonymity.
The decision will largely affect Nonprofit making organization as well. With 517 businesses operating in residential houses, Gasabo hosts the biggest number of businesses that will be affected, followed by Nyarugenge with Nyarugenge 300 businesses.
In Kicukiro, only 95 businesses will be affected.
Meanwhile, the City of Kigali is aware, that many businesses ended into residential areas following exorbitant prices from commercial buildings.
Busabizwa said, commercial building owners should not take advantage of this move.
“We are discussing with commercial building owners to reduce rent fees and we hope we will get a consensus,” said Busabizwa.