The Ministry of Trade and Industry and East African Community Affairs has unveiled a Made-in-Rwanda policy in a bid to address issues of quality, prices, cost of production as well as link industries to suppliers.
Speaking during the validation session of the policy, last week, Minister Francois Kanimba said the new approach was developed in close partnership with government institutions and the private sector.
“The Made-in-Rwanda policy is a new approach that will enhance public-private sector stakeholders’ partnership to enhance industrial growth and economic transformation,” he said.
The policy is designed to help boost local industrial contribution to the economic growth – which increased to 17 per cent in 2016 – ahead of the 20 per cent target by 2020.
“The initiative is playing a big role in boosting locally-made products. The trade deficit in terms of goods decreased to $1.5 billion in 2016 from $1.8 billion in 2015,” he said.
According to Annette Karenzi, the director-general of industry and entrepreneurship development at the ministry, many value chains will be developed under the policy.
She said if the sugar value chain was developed, for instance, it would add savings worth $26 million per annum. For steel, it would be $34 million, $20 million in soaps and detergents as well as $20 million from pharmaceuticals.
Quality and high cost of production
Karenzi said several measures will be adopted to reduce unfair competition for local firms.
“The policy will make sure that there is on increase of local raw materials. Another intervention is VAT exemption on imports of raw materials, which will be expanded,” she said, adding that access to high quality and affordable packaging will be managed by developing a centre of excellence for packaging.
Karenzi said, under the new policy, in order for companies receive Made-in-Rwanda brand, they will be required to have 30 per cent of local content or value addition in their products.
John Rugamba, the managing director of Gasabo 3D Design Ltd, a firm that deals in engineering design services, said: “The Government should invest in research and innovation as well as provide incentives to companies to undertake in research so as to increase quality of local products.
The policy would keep utility prices low under strong regulations.
Minister Kanimba said that as part of Made-in-Rwanda policy, public procurement law is also under revision and a new Bill will soon be tabled in Parliament.
Goreth Buhiga, the director of monitoring and audit unit at Rwanda Public Procurement Authority, said: “Local producers should produce enough to supply public institutions. The process will be facilitated by the public procurement law, which is being revised.”
In a recent survey, 89 per cent of some 149 consumers said that they were influenced by Made-in-Rwanda campaign, while 60 per cent said they preferred locally-made products.