EDITORIAL: Giving priority to local products in public procurement will make the difference

The government has, over the past two years, stepped up campaigns to encourage Rwandans to consume locally-made products. The Made-in-Rwanda effort is one of the strategies geared at supporting local industries to improve on production and quality to capture the domestic market, as well as help reduce the country’s import bill, create more jobs and spur growth.

Spearheaded by the trade, industry and EAC affairs ministry and the Private Sector Federation, the drive also seeks to change the misconception that Made-in-Rwanda goods are of inferior quality compared to imported products.

Indeed, the move by government to ensure that public procurement entities prioritise locally-made products under the revised procurement law is timely. The government is a big spender and this approach comes as a shot in the arm for the Made-in-Rwanda campaign.

Besides increasing consumption of Rwandan goods, the strategy will improve the country’s foreign exchange reserves, and support the local currency and the manufacturing sector. Big industrialists and SME producers, however, must up their game and produce in a sustainable manner to satisfy demand.

In addition, Made-in-Rwanda products must be of good quality and affordable because consumers can only buy products that are within their means. That’s one of the challenges that manufacturers should address as imported goods are at times cheaper than locally-produced goods. There is also need for producers to embrace the culture of advertising to create awareness about their products among the masses, and also to improve on packaging.

Therefore, manufacturers should reward the efforts invested in the Made-in-Rwanda campaign by government and other stakeholders by embracing new strategies that will make them more competitive and first choice for Rwandan buyers.