For businesses, ensuring formal property rights is fundamental, and effective administration of land is at the core of that.
In Rwanda, all land parcels have been digitized so no plot is unregistered. As a result, property transfer has been made so simple that getting a transfer for either a commercial or industrial property takes only one day in the city of Kigali.
The registration of property gives it value, a reform that has made doing business easy as it is now accepted as collateral for loans thereby widening access to finance.
In Rwanda, registering property requires only three procedures.
Globally, Rwanda stands at an impressive 4th position in the ranking of 190 economies on the ease of registering property, according to the Doing Business report 2017. This is the result of various reforms in this area.
In 2014, Rwanda made transferring property easier by eliminating the requirement to obtain a tax clearance certificate and by implementing the online Land Administration Information System (LAIS) for processing land transactions.
In 2016, Rwanda made it easier to register property by introducing effective time limits and increasing the transparency of the land administration system.
In addition, Rwanda introduced one-step and one-day registration of property, meaning that all commercial and industrial property transfers are registered in one day with only one procedure. This process is done at the head office of the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority, while the districts of Kigali city handle transfers of residential properties.
“All property transfers are now done online so people don’t have to go to the Lands Centre when they have sold a plot, but instead they log into the system and follow the easy procedures,” explained Tushabe.
He added that all notaries, including sector land managers of the three districts in Kigali, have been trained to use the system.
This reform has reduced the time it used to take from 30 days to only one day.
Other reforms undertaken last year are:
Introduction of periodic updates of Maps on the RNRA Website: The maps are now updated every two months, and this concerns all land use planning maps. They can be found on the official website, www.rnra.rw.
This reform is particularly useful for professionals like engineers, architects and urban planners.
Publication of property transfers: Periodic publication of property transfers are now officially communicated starting with those made in 2015. This reform indicates transparency in the land registry in all districts and cities of the country and further creates awareness among investors on how business is growing since the number of property transfers reflects the level of business, especially in real estate.
Introduction of complaint procedures: This reform is a means of dispute settlement at the land registry if a client is not satisfied with the services received during his dealings with the registry. A complaints form can be found on the website and can be either downloaded, filled in and sent or filed directly to the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority.
This reform has brought in more transparency in service delivery and helps to solve complaints that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. The reform will not only solve the dispute caused by officers of the registry, but also guide them in reforming the way services are offered.
Introduction of property ownership search using mobile telephone: Since March 2016, people can search for property ownership their mobile phone if they use one of the mobile service providers in Rwanda. They can key in *651* followed by the UPI number of the property they search for and closed with #, and the information concerning the owner, demarcations and any litigation on the plot can be available in a matter of seconds.
This reform has saved time and cost for people interested in purchasing a property and for court bailiffs who need to auction a property.
Publication of service standards: This reform clearly indicates the types of services offered by the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority. It also shows the number of days required to get the services.
These services include registration of transfer of titles either voluntarily, by court order, succession, expropriation, and many others. The other services include subdivision, merging of parcels, and rectification of boundaries among others.
This reform has created more transparency in the land registry as the services can be found easily as well as the time required to acquire the service.