The Rwanda Outdoor Advertising Association (ROAA) is calling for an 18 month moratorium on the removal of billboards that is being currently undertaken by teams from the City of Kigali.
This move that is being executed by the City of Kigali follows the publication in the National Gazette on 17, October 2016 of the Amendment of Instruction N° 01/09 of 15/09/2016 of City of Kigali Council reviewing Instructions N° 05/12 of 28/10/2012 of the City of Kigali Council Relating to Advertisement Rules in the Kigali City. This law only mandates 3 types of billboards are allowed in the City of Kigali.
The new Kigali City instructions mandate that only three types of billboards are allowed in the city namely; Electronic /Digital Billboards, Tri-vision Billboards and Directional/Indication Billboards
Starting on Saturday, 19 November 2016, teams from Kigali City Council have taken down three billboards belonging to Pan African Advertising and AFLink Business Consultants that were advertising promotions from KLM airlines, DSTV and Tusker beer.
This followed a letter written to ROAA by the City of Kigali on 14, November 2016 instructing that all billboards in Kigali be taken down except for two electronic billboards located in Giporoso and Gishushu.
This step taken by Kigali City authorities to remove all billboards fly in the face of efforts undertaken by ROAA to reduce billboard clutter in Kigali City. Presently, 503 billboards have been removed by ROAA in Kigali in cooperation with Kigali City technical team.
In addition, this move by the City of Kigali also goes against a request sent to the Mayor’s Office by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) on 15, November 2016 proposing that the City of Kigali postpone the billboards removals until further consultations were made with all the relevant stakeholders both in public and the private sector.
Commenting on the billboard removals, ROAA chairman, Vianney Kabera warns that;
“If all these billboards are removed, not only will our clients be unable to advertise, our members risk bankruptcy but also Rwanda Revenue Authority revenues from taxes will also be impacted negatively.
If you look at just three of ROAA members, namely Akagera Business Group, Pan African Advertising and AFLink, their total investment is approximately Rwf 983 million.
In total, if these businesses go down, Rwf 436 million in taxes will be lost from this industry and over a hundred people, who are directly and indirectly employed by our members, will lose their jobs. This does not include other businesses that are part of our ecosystem such as printers and commercial banks, who provided loans to the billboard owners to run their businesses. Everyone stands to lose hundreds of millions of Rwandan Francs.
“What we are asking is that the City of Kigali give us a grace period of 18 months to complete our running contracts and allow us to gradually upgrade our existing structures to suit the City regulations”, Kabera said.