The Ministry of Trade and Industry has launched a campaign that aims at ensuring safety and quality of imported goods as well as protecting of local manufacturers from unfair competition.
The Import Products Conformity Assessment (IPCA) programme will be implemented by Société Générale de Surveillance’s (SGS) in collaboration with the Rwanda Bureau of Standards, Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade and Industry, said.
Kanimba said the main objective of IPCA is to prevent the importation of unsafe, sub-standard and counterfeit goods to protect consumers’ health and safety.
“It is also intended to reduce dumping, facilitate customs clearance process and also guard against exportation of low quality goods that could then be rejected, thus promote locally-made goods,” the minister explained.
The SGS provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services of goods to over 165 organisations worldwide, ensuring they meet international standards. The organisation is expected to start work next month.
Hellen Achieng, the IPCA contract manager for Rwanda, said importers will be issued certificates of conformity by SGS after their goods have been inspected and certified (in the exporting country) by the global agency.
“SGS will inspect the goods and issue an inspection report and certificate of conformity to the supplier if the goods meet the applicable Rwandan standards. If they do not, then a non-conformity report will be issued. The certificate will then be forwarded to importers with other shipping documents,” Achieng explained.
However, importers will have to part with an inspection fee ranging from $235 (about Rwf162,150) to $2,375 (about Rwf1.6m), depending on the tonnage.
According to Dr Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, the Rwanda Bureau of Standards director general, the programme is part of the efforts geared at promoting the ‘Made in Rwanda’ brand.
Bagabe called for collaboration among stakeholders, especially the Rwanda Revenue Authority and Rwanda National Police to make the campaign a success.