The complacency that has characterized most internal traders in the way they do business will now come to an end.
The Commerce, Industry and Trade minister has lived well to her promise this week, that she would crack the whip against traders operating out of the confines of the law.
Minister Monique Nsanzabaganwa is not a woman of empty promises.
Indeed, after giving the traders a grace period to put their ‘houses’ in order, yesterday she was downtown Kigali, to see for herself, if the wayward traders had heeded to her directive.
Apparently, some had not, resulting in them paying spot fines, stipulated under the Internal Trade Law to be between Rwf 20,000 to 2,000,000.
What an ordeal a whole Minister has to go through on behalf of unsuspecting swindled consumers.
The requirements being made by the ministry of commerce to the traders, are firstly universal not unique to Rwanda at all and so simple for that matter.
Requirements include that traders label all goods on sale, that they acquire trade certificates and to keep invoices.
With the speed at which Rwanda’s private sector is developing, and the government stand of making ours a private sector driven economy, surely the laws of the jungle in the way business is carried must now be a thing of the past.
Rwanda is moving towards a diversified formal economy, which allows for fairness in business and above all protection of consumers, militating against profiteering.
Consumers have in the past been left at the mercy of greedy traders, whose prices change on the bases of the quality of shoes you are wearing, the handbag you are carrying or the language you speak and above all the colour of your skin.
Rwanda is a key player within the East African Community (EAC), she has so far made an outstanding record in her zero tolerance for corruption in all aspects of life.
This record must be extended to traders who inflate prices, of local and imported goods to unsuspecting customers. Regional integration means Rwanda is home to many other nationalities, who want to get the value for their money when they buy goods.
Likewise traders from the region should not over inflate their prices to cheat locals. It goes both ways.
A formalised and regulated way of doing business will protect both local consumers and visitors.
The ministry can only do its job of ensuring that the laws of the jungle in local trade are done away with.