The Government is committed to working with private sector and other development partners to put industrial development at the forefront and increase the annual contribution of industry sector to the economy to 14 per cent, from the current 2 per cent.
The commitment was announced by Vincent Munyeshyaka, the minister for trade and tndustry, as the country joined the rest of the continent to celebrate the African Industrialisation Day at the Kigali Special Economic Zone, yesterday.
The minister said that while industrial development is a top priority the country’s development agenda, its contribution to national economy is still low, only at 2 per cent currently.
“We are targeting to reach an annual industrial growth of 14 per cent by 2020 from the current growth of only 2 per cent in 2016-17,” he said.
He also said that the government aims at achieving the contribution of industrial sector to the country’s GDP of 20 per cent by 2020, from 17.1 per cent in 2016-17.
“To achieve this actually requires strong partnership between the government, the private sector but also development partners, indeed, we all work for a common goal of transforming Rwandan economy into a modern and industrialised one,” he said.
Minister Munyeshyaka expressed optimism, stressing that the existing Public-Private Partnership legal framework would facilitate the development of both small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and big industries, hence real industrialisation of economy.
He said the Made-in-Rwanda initiative, launched in 2015 as a strategy to increase awareness on Rwandan products in order to recapture domestic market and lower trade deficit, would help achieve effective economic transformation where industrial sector will be leading growth within Rwandan economy.
A series of activities
Munyeshyaka said a series of key interventions have been undertaken including the periodic Made-in-Rwanda exhibition to showcase Rwandan made products, promote them and educate consumers about the benefits of buying locally made products.
He outlined several other measures that have been taken to promote locally-made products, such as amending public procurement laws, giving local producers preference, VAT exemption for low materials and capital goods for the manufacturing sector, and technical assistance that is given to key companies for domestic market recapturing.
Others, he said, include establishment of Rwanda centre for design for clothing and some progressive reduction of industrial electricity tariff among others.
“Made-in-Rwanda policy is ready to be approved by Cabinet to see how we can create some synergies between different interventions by all stakeholders but also to see how we can keep removing the remaining industrial sector bottlenecks to make sure that the country’s ambitious industrial growth targets of 14 per cent each year are met,” he said.
Felicien Mutalikanwa, the new chairperson of the Rwanda Association of Manufacturers (RAM), said development of any economy depends on the development of its industrial ability and its ability to respond to the consumers’ need and exports.
He expressed the manufacturers’ commitment to boost industry sector.
Mutalikanwa said that manufacturing sector was committed to the expansion of the economy’s GDP, contributing 6 per cent in the second quarter of the year.
“As manufacturers, we all strive for development of the country. Our wish is customer satisfaction, we want to make the Made-in-Rwanda brand the epitome of quality and excellence,” he said.
Mutalikanwa called on Rwandans to consume locally made products, adding that this would promote industry, create jobs as well as help close trade imbalance.
The day was celebrated under the theme, “African Industrial development: A pre-condition for effective and Sustainable Continental Fee Trade Area.”