Government commits to address manufacturers’ concerns

Government is working toward addressing issues affecting the manufacturing industry performance in the country, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, has said.
Crystal Bottling Company employees at work. (John Mbanda)
Crystal Bottling Company employees at work. (John Mbanda)

Government is working toward addressing issues affecting the manufacturing industry performance in the country, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, has said.

 Kanimba made the remarks during an assessment tour of industry operations in Bugesera and Kicukiro Industrial Parks on Thursday.

Among the firms visited included   Master Steel industry, manufacturing iron sheets, doorframes and iron bars.

An employee at work at Trust Industries in Bugesera District.

Located in Kicukiro District, the industry produces 2,000 tonnes of metal objects per month and targets  8,000 tonnes in the near future. The plant has been expanded  to start manufacturing metal tubes and nails.

Augustin Habimana, legal advisor at Master Steel industry, cited  inadequate water as one of the major  challenges facing the firm, adding that the firm needs at least 600 cubic meters of water to generate air pressure needed for the industry to operate                                                efficiently.

“The industry also needs 4 megawatts of power for its operation but  only 2.5 megawatts is available,” Habimana said.

Trade and Industry Minister Francois Kanimba (L) is taken around Crystal bottling company by Stephen Mugisha one of the employees.

Nils Zirimwabagabo, the Commercial manager of Trust Industries Ltd, manufacturers of napkins and sanitatary papers, said the industry uses only 360 cubic meters of water per day, yet it needs 1,200 cubic meters.

 “The industry performs at 40 per cent of its capacity because of inadequate water,” he said.

Assuring the manufacturers, the minister called for strategic planning so that industries are located in areas where there is proximity to water sources.

He said the government’s new initiatives to set up industrial parks with good designs and planning will help solve the infrastructure issue.

While at the Bugesera Industrial Park, Kanimba said a water project to feed the 330 hectare site will be  complete within 18 months to ensure industries start operations when there is enough water.

 This year, Rwf15 billion was earmarked for the first phase of the project.

The Bugesera Industrial Park and others to be set up across the country will help complement the Special Economic Zone in Kigali, to ensure industries get strategic areas for development.

Packaging issue

Charlse Kamanzi, the Chairman of Crystal Bottling, manufacturers of soft drinks said packaging is a very big challenge hindering industrial performance in the country.

He said they are prohibited from  wrapping their products in plastic or polythene bags and resort to paper packaging which he said is more expensive.

Kanimba promised to find a lasting solution to the problem. He said there is need for concerted efforts to ensure regular supply of power to industries to solve the problem raised by industry owners.

Trade and Industry Minister Francois Kanimba and other guests tour an industry. (All photos by John Mbanda)

Boosting leather industry

The minister said Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) making shoes have been relying on imported leather from countries such as Ethiopia, and Kenya, which has proved costly and slows down their performance.

He said the Kigali Leather Industry Ltd, which is being built at Nyabarongo River, Bugesera District should respond to SMEs demands to get refined leather locally.

The Director General of Kigali Leather Ltd, Luan Lu Ming, said the plant would start producing refined leather in five months owing to lack of enough leather supply.

“Our industry will need 60 containers of hides to start producing leather but we can only afford 30 containers,” he said.

He said with enough materials available, the industry can start producing leather after one year.

Kanimba urged Rwandans against exporting hides because there is ready market in the country.