Kanimba pledges support to SMEs
The government is committed to supporting small and medium enterprises to bolster job creation, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba has said.
Kanimba made the pledge Wednesday while on a one-day tour of various factories in the districts of Kayonza, Rwamagana and Ngoma.
The minister, who addressed employees at each plant, underscored the role and importance of small and medium enterprises in the country’s economy.
He visited various banana wine processing plants and appreciated the taste and audacious targets of the owners.
“This wine tastes just like one we import from Europe or South Africa...we need to support small industries to acquire the appropriate machinery to maximise production,” he said.
He said Rwandans have come to embrace the value of small businesses, noting that through such initiatives, they develop a pool of skilled- and semi-skilled workers who form the basis for industrial expansion.
“They have the dynamism, are innovative and efficient; their (small) size allows faster decision-making process,” he said.
The minister added that the issue of packaging must be addressed forthwith.
“There is major problem of bottles...packaging, in general, is still wanting. We shall sensitise large firms to start manufacturing bottles,” he said adding that banks should extend loans to SMEs to fix the packaging problem.
The minister also visited a small rice factory and an upcoming Soya Bean processing plant, SOYCOM in Kayonza district.
He, however, questioned the sustainability of the two factories, when they were not fully engaging farmers.
“The rice issue will be revised soon...at least 40 percent of the factory shares should be owned by farmers. The rice factories we have are ten times more than we need! The capacity of processing doesn’t match the supply.”
He told managers of SOYCOM that his ministry, together with that of Agriculture, will soon come up with a plan to help the industry access the required raw materials.
SOYCOM will be using mainly soya beans and sunflower as raw materials to produce cooking oil.
The minister, however, ruled out the possibility of waiving VAT as was requested by the managers.
“Regarding VAT, we are not allowed to discriminate, we follow international standards. Besides, I don’t see any agro-based factory succeeding without supporting farmers”.
Christine Murebwayire, a manager of a banana wine factory in Mutenderi,
Ngoma District, acknowledged the government’s support.
“I have been to several countries in Africa, Europe and America for training and study tours. The support we have received from the government cannot be overemphasised. At this rate, we can only be limited by the sky,” she said.
Contact email: stephen.rwembeho[at]newtimes.co.rw