The Made-in-Rwanda campaign received a timely boost yesterday with President Paul Kagame rallying Rwandans to buy locally-produced goods.
The President made the call during his meeting with close to 3000 local leaders from mainly Gasabo and other districts within the City of Kigali.
VIDEO: President Kagame visits Special Economic Zone | Gasabo, 7 February 2017. Source. VillageUrugwiro/YouTube
The President, who had earlier toured the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) spoke out against choosing to import goods that are currently not only locally made but are also more affordable and of better quality.
He also reminded the leaders of their role in fighting corruption, saying that while Rwanda is ranked high globally, that is not enough if the country is to achieve its development targets.
The latest Transparency International Corruption index ranked Rwanda the third least corrupt country in Africa.
President Kagame emphasised that leadership is key to dealing with the country’s challenges.
“Leadership is doing everything in our power to deliver. It is unacceptable to fall short of our abilities to serve citizens,” he said.
Kagame further urged the community leaders to efficiently manage the country’s resources such as water and land, maintain safety, fight the use of drugs, and embrace the Made-in-Rwanda campaign which aims to boost homemade production and consumption.
On corruption, the president said it is unacceptable for any leader to allocate public resources for personal benefits, urging everyone to always report corrupt leaders and hold them to account.
“Silence in the face of corruption has consequences. Not being corrupt is not enough; you must speak up. All of you should stand up against corruption; you cannot stay silent and expect others to hold those involved accountable,” the President said.
While encouraging local leaders to take on challenges within their communities, President Kagame said that the most important thing is for every leader to believe that they have what it takes within themselves to transform the nation.
“We are the leaders of this country. We don’t need to look anywhere else for other leaders to solve our challenges,” Kagame said.
The President added that the leaders must ensure that what has been achieved over the years is not destroyed or backtracked, encouraging them to maintain security in their communities to guarantee the prosperity of the Rwandan people.
“The security I am talking about is not only being able to do productive work but also protect the gains from it.”
“No one should be able to invade your home and take away what you have earned or deprive you of your lives,” he said, highlighting that none of citizens’ achievements are sustainable without security.
While visiting the Special Economic Zone, the President was told that existing public procurement policies were being used as an excuse for not buying locally produced goods.
“I will take issue with procurement policies that are against Made-in-Rwanda,” he said, promising to follow up with government officials who opt for imported and more costly alternatives for the products that are locally produced.
The local officials in Kigali City who met the president yesterday include Gasabo District’s villages, cells, and sector leaders and district council and executive committee members who were also joined by councilors and opinion leaders from two other districts of the city which are Nyarugenge and Kicukiro.
The leaders resolved to take their responsibilities more seriously and always hold those who fail to do their jobs to account.
“We take leadership positions on a voluntary basis and there is no reason why we can’t take on our responsibilities,” said Stephen Rwamulangwa, the Mayor of Gasabo District.
Among other issues, the officials also discussed how to promote hygiene and sanitation in the city, end illegal construction activities, and promote general development and wellbeing of city dwellers.