Government is working with stakeholders to address challenges faced by the industrial sector to help reduce the cost of production in the country, Ministry of Trade and Industry permanent secretary, Michel Sebera, has said. The move, according to Sebera, will help make locally-made products more competitive and affordable.
“We are currently working on a strategy that will help address some of the bottlenecks faced by local producers to help boost the Made-in-Rwanda campaign. The ministry is also working on a system (backward linkage) to help connect small firms with large investors,” he said.
Sebera reiterated the need to encourage local production and consumption, saying this will help reduce the country’s import bill.
The PS was speaking during a press conference in Kigali a head of the third Made-in-Rwanda expo that starts tomorrow at the Gikondo Showground in Kicukiro. The trade fair ends on December 5 and is being organised by Private Sector Federation (PSF) and trade and industry ministry,
Sebera noted that there is need for public awareness drives to help change people’s mind-set and perception about locally manufactured goods to spur consumption and support industrial sector growth.
Speaking at the conference, Philip Nzaire, the director of quality assurance at Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), urged producers to ensure quality to make locally-made goods more competitive and increase their market share.
He called on industrialists and small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to work with the standards watchdog to ensure their products meet quality guidelines as one of the ways to protect consumers from harmful products.
“Our job is to ensure consumers are protected from harmful goods as we promote trade. That’s why we encourage firms to work with us and be guided to improve their production processes so that they are certified with the “S” mark of quality,” he added
Taking advantage of the expo
Meanwhile, Stephen Ruzibiza, the Private Sector Federation chief executive officer, has called on manufacturers, service providers and suppliers to take advantage of the expo to market their products and services.
He said the exhibition is an opportunity to interact with customers and showcase innovations that will boost consumption of locally-made products.
The annual Made-in-Rwanda expo will go a long way in helping solve the challenges of poor marketing, product promotion and branding that still hinder the growth of the industrial sector and competitiveness of locally-produced goods, according to PSF.
So far, 450 firms have been registered for the trade show, exceeding previous projection of 400 exhibitors. The Made-in-Rwanda campaign has helped the country reduce its import bill.
Formal imports declined by about 10.6 per cent during the first half of the year on the back of increased consumption of locally-made products, central bank figures indicate.