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Meet Kenyan Managing Multi-billion Mall in Rwanda

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  • “Richard Branson said when an amazing opportunity is offered to you and you don’t know how to do it, say yes then learn later,” A young Festus Mutia responds as to why he accepted to relocate to Rwanda for a job.

    Speaking on his time in Rwanda, the young real estate professional told Muhabarishaji.com that he was offered the chance to manage the largest mixed-use development in the East African country in 2017.

    The building he is referring to is the Makuzi Peace Mall Complex which was constructed at a cost of Ksh2.5Billion ($25Million) and is a pinnacle of modern architecture in the country.

    Makuza Peace Plaza in Kigali Rwanda
    Makuza Peace Plaza in Kigali Rwanda
    Courtesy

    The giant mall is located in the Central Business District (CBD) of the capital Kigali.

    At the centre of it all is Mutia, who is serves as the senior leasing manager and mall expert at the plaza.

    “Being the manager of the mall, my work involves meeting with prospective tenants, drafting contracts, ensuring smooth operations of the mall amongst other responsibilities,” the 27-year-old explains adding that the best part of my job is dealing with different people mainly investors.

    Mutia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from The University of Nairobi, holder of CPA-K, and currently pursuing Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a post-graduate diploma in Project Management.

    “Besides my work, I also run a small real estate consultancy firm that covers East Africa region dealing with feasibility studies, market research, and property consultancy as a whole,” he states.

    Festus Mutia is a Senior Leasing Manager Peace Mall Complex in Kigali Rwanda
    Festus Mutia is a Senior Leasing Manager Peace Mall Complex in Kigali Rwanda
    Courtesy

    Real estate services and construction in Rwanda contributes around 14.8% to the GDP as Mutia noted that the Kigali has attractive rental returns, with the sector recording an average of 9.0% compared to 7.0% returns in Kenya, 10.5% of Tanzania and 11.4% of Uganda.

    “Rwanda’s real estate market is a very young market and historically challenging due to the low purchasing power of its citizens hence selling out spaces is not a walk in the park.

    “However, the rate of growth of the market and the economy at large is the highest in the region,” he explains.

    Rwanda is a lucrative market for Kenyans with a 2013 report by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) indicating Kenya as Rwanda’s top investor and trading partner.

    At the time RDB noted that 1,302 Kenyan companies had been domestically registered into Rwanda, directly employing close to a quarter a million Rwandans, and more than 2000 Kenyan expatriates had also gotten jobs, serving not only the hundreds of Kenyan companies in Rwanda but also government agencies.

    Working in the two countries has been made easier as both Kenya and Rwanda abolished work permit fees for East African nationals working in the two countries.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda President Paul Kagame
    President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda President Paul Kagame
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    In 2015, Uganda also signed the agreement to liberalise the movement of labour as it also abolished the fees.

    Working in Rwanda is an unforgettable experience, as Mutia puts it noting that the language barrier in the country that is dominantly French and Kinyarwanda has pushed him to learn essential words to communicate in both languages. 

    The country has become his second home noting that its rapid growth offers new opportunities for investors.

    “Rwanda has been ranked highly on the easiness to do business and hence it is an ideal place to invest, so yes, I wouldn’t mind investing in Rwanda and settling here as well,” he states.

    Festus Mutia is a Senior Leasing Manager at Makuzi Peace Complex in Kigali Rwanda.
    Festus Mutia is a Senior Leasing Manager at Makuzi Peace Complex in Kigali Rwanda.
    Courtesy
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    Kenya

    Matatu Operators Protest As KRA Goes After Fares

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  • Matatu owners have protested what they term as unfair tax demand by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) even as the industry suffers from reduced income in collected fares. 

    KRA collects annual taxes from matatus per passenger seat but the matatus argue the arrangement should be adjusted to account for reduced seat capacity that has hit the sector since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    Matatu Owners Association (MOA) Chairman Simon Kimutai argues that the authority has failed to consider the new seating arrangement by the vehicles that has led to a reduced number of passengers per trip.

    He was speaking after he forwarded a memorandum to KRA where he demanded a review of the advanced taxes.

    Matatu owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai (right) and National Co-ordinator Albert Karagacha arriving at Railways club in Nairobi on April 13,2016.
    Matatu owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai (right) and National Co-ordinator Albert Karagacha arriving at Railways club in Nairobi.

    “The KRA is still demanding Ksh720 per seat per year or Ksh10,080 for a 14-seater matatu whose capacity has been reduced to nine seats, while 41-seater buses that pay Ksh29,520 per annum have had their capacity reduced to 25 passengers,” he stated.

    Kimutai failed to understand why the government was charging tax per seat yet did not allow the vehicles to carry passengers to full capacity.

    “We did not mind paying taxes, but we wonder why we are being overlooked when other sectors have been given a reprieve,” he added.

    Kimutai explained that a 33-seater bus was carrying a maximum of 17 passengers and still paying Ksh23,760 per annum while 26-seaters which was now limited to 15 passengers, are still paying Ksh18,720 in advanced tax.

    In April, the government directed matatus to carry 60 percent of their capacities to allow social distancing among passengers.

    The industry has been experiencing huge losses as a result of the containment measures that also require them to provide sanitisers for passengers.

    They lamented that other transport sectors like the standard gauge railway and international flights had been allowed to carry to full capacity.

    “We have already attained all the requirements by the government and we wonder why we have not been allowed to operate full capacity like the other sectors,” Lower Eastern Transport Welfare Association chairman Onesmus Kyalo stated in a past interview.

    a
    Matatus caught up ina traffic snarl-up at Tom Mboya street near Khoja/Old Mutual terminus
    File
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    Kenya

    DCI Captures Ksh3.5M Bank Heist Suspect

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  • Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have traced and arrested a suspect in connection to a robbery along Mombasa Road that led to the loss of Ksh3.5 million from a local bank.

    The suspect was traced to his home in Githunguri, Kiambu where he was arrested. 

    Authorities believe that the suspect disposed of the guns which had been taken from police officers guarding the bank. 

    Firearms recovered by detectives following the heist on Monday, January 18.
    Firearms recovered by detectives following the heist on Monday, January 18.
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    Two pistols were found dumped outside Kiambu Hospital Gate on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

    “The firearms were dropped by a motorbike passenger at Kiambu Hospital’s Gate shortly before the motorbike disappeared into the darkness,” DCI George Kinoti said. 

    Police are yet to recover the motorbike which ferried the suspect to the scene where the guns were found. 

    The investigation is being conducted by a team of DCI detectives from the headquarters, Embakasi and Special Service Unit officers. 

    The arrest brings to four the number of suspects in police custody over the Monday afternoon robbery.

    The suspects in custody include the two police officers who were guarding the bank and a teller.

    The bank teller is expected to help DCI with insights on the heist which was conducted in broad daylight. 

    The robbery was staged in a way that even motorists who were driving in and out of the building did not suspect anything. 

    A private security guard sustained injuries on his right arm during the robbery. 

    DCI George Kinoti issuing a statement on Wednesday, December 2.
    DCI George Kinoti issuing a statement on Wednesday, December 2.
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    Kenya

    NMS to Open Newly Built Hospitals in 4 Nairobi Estates

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  • The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) under General Mohamed Badi will open the first batch of the newly built hospitals in Nairobi estates in late January 2021. 

    NMS said that the first four of the 24 hospitals it constructed will be ready for use in Uthiru, Kiamaiko, Ushirika and Soweto-Kayole.

    The facilities are both Level 2 and Level 3 hospitals. 

    “Contractors are installing equipment. They will be ready next week. 

    An image of Terminus
    Hospital beds outside the Nairobi Green Park terminus dispensary.
    Twitter

    “We are finalising on the projects,” NMS Director of Health Services Dr Josephine Kibaru-Mbae said. 

    NMS further recruited 600 nurses who will be deployed to the 24 facilities which Badi hope will all be unveiled in 2021.

    The newly recruited health professionals and hospitals will clear the backlog of unattended patients in the county hospitals and the country’s referral Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). 

    “The nurses presented their documents for verification,  subsequent issuance of appointment letters,” NMS added on its website.

    NMS also opened a dispensary at Green Park Terminus at Nairobi Railways. Beds, heart rate monitors and sanitisers were installed to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

    The terminus will also include police post, restaurants, supermarket, modern ablution block, restrooms for motorists and commuters.

    Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko handed over health functions to the NMS in February 2020. President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the agency would ensure his Big 4 Agenda, Universal Health Care, was achieved. 

    An image of Dispensary
    A woman having her temperature checked at the Nairobi Green Park terminus dispensary.
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