Business round-up

RBS to certify chemical materials Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) has said it is soon starting the testing of chemical materials which include cement and iron bars. The process will put an end to the dependence on regional standardisation offered by regional bureaus specifically Kenya Bureau of Standards.

RBS to certify chemical materials

Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) has said it is soon starting the testing of chemical materials which include cement and iron bars.

The process will put an end to the dependence on regional standardisation offered by regional bureaus specifically Kenya Bureau of Standards.

For chemical products from abroad, RBS top officials said they have been relying on “certificate of analysis” issued by the countries of origin of the products.

Currently the bureau tests mainly biochemical and food products manufactured both within and outside the country.

In a recent interview with Business Times, Dr .Mark  Cyubahiro Bagabe, the Director General of RBS said the process will begin before the end of this year. RBS has already put in place all the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the testing exercise.

Coffee export earnings fall by 20 percent.

Earnings from coffee export dropped by 19.5 percent to $37m (Rwf21.9b) in 2009 occasioned by the global financial crisis that hit the crop’s prices on the international market.

Rwanda, which generated $46.9m (Rwf26.2b) from coffee export in 2008, also saw a sharp decline in national coffee output from 22,000 tonnes in 2008 to 16,000 tonnes last year, Ocir-café, the agency that regulates coffee activities in the country said Tuesday. 

“Last year, we registered significant decline in both production and revenues because of the global financial crisis that affected prices on the international market,” Alex Kanyankore, the Director General of Ocir-café said.

Kanyankore also attributed the low production to the low cycle of production that was experienced last year. He said that last year was characterized by low flowering of coffee trees.

However, farm gate prices in 2009 were better than any other year, rising to Rwf140 per kilogram of cherries compared with Rwf120 per kilogram in 2008.

The regulator says this year’s projections in volume and value are expected to reach  26,000 tonnes and $60m respectively. 
 
CRB to reduce non-performing loans

The Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) that will be established this year is expected to lower the level of non-performing loans within lending financial institutions, Central Bank Vice Governor, Amb. Claver Gatete, has said.

He said there is high risk associated with banks lending to bad debtors due to lack of enough information about particular clients.

The CRB is aimed at providing enough credit information on companies and individuals borrowers.

“Banks couldn’t identify bad and good clients and the risk of lending clients who didn’t have the capacity to pay back were high,” Gatete said.

He added that some clients have caused problems to almost every bank in the country with out being recognized.

Credit information will give good clients a preferential rate and access to resources or finances will be much easier

Rwandan inflation slows in January, food falls

 Rwanda’s year-on-year inflation rate slowed to 4.54 percent in January from 5.74 percent in the previous month, the statistics office said on Thursday.
Consumer prices eased 0.71 percent in January from the previous month, driven by a decrease in the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

The underlying year-on-year inflation rate -- which excludes fresh food and energy prices -- fell to 3.17 percent from 3.46 percent in December, although the underlying index rose 0.25 percent in January from a month earlier.

Earlier this month the central bank governor told Reuters the central African country’s inflation rate would remain in single digits in 2010 on the back of strong agricultural output.

Inflation surged in Rwanda in 2008 on the back of higher food and fuel prices -- as was the case in the region’s other, bigger economies.

Like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, inflation rates in Rwanda have been slowing gradually over the past year and expectations of better harvests have improved the inflationary outlook even though economic growth is now picking up.

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