EDITORIAL: Fair trade has no place for favours, just sheer sweat

Conventional logic in business is that once you buy somethings and sell it at a higher price, the money that remains once the expenses have been deducted is profit.

Not all businesses bring in the same level of dividends so business people are very choosy. Some are even crafty that they know how to navigate around tax issues such as smuggling or even influence trade policies and protective measures that favour them.

The latter, it seems, is what is on the mind of some local industrialists who complain that foreign competition is driving them out of business and need favours from the government to stay afloat. But that beats the whole logic of competition.

Instead of our industrialists asking themselves why similar products in a neighbouring country cost less and try to address the issue, they are busy looking for shortcuts.

Maybe the production costs in those countries are cheaper because their taxation and customs systems are weak and corrupt, thereby creating loopholes. In Rwanda, systems are tight and they work and there are very little opportunities to cut corners.

Our industries should understand that if they are not playing on the same level field as their neighbouring competitors, then they should walk the extra mile. Therefore, the solution is not to agonise – paraphrasing the Pan African Movement slogan – but to organize.

The Made in Rwanda Expo is just around the corner and definitely our local manufacturers will agree that the sector has greatly improved. The market is no longer targeting the local clientele but beyond our borders. So, instead of complaining, they should fully exploit the African Continental Free Trade Area and expand their horizons.