COMPETITION: Coffee will not be included on the list because there is no competition to stand up to Rwanda’s stable success of the product
Rwanda will join other East African Community (EAC) partner states in listing products termed as ‘sensitive’ that the regional economic bloc will protect from regional when implementing the Customs Union.
Diana Karimba, a Research Analyst with the Private Sector Federation (PSF) who took part in the regional survey said that Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is mandated to draft the list.
“We were part of the group that went around conducting the research but the official document of the sensitive products will soon be released by RRA,” she said.
She added that the survey funded by the World Bank and started last year had to traverse the region ascertaining the products to be included.
The move follows previous concerns by some members of the private sector in the region, that, ‘the implementation of the Customs Union would destabilise the growth of young industries.’
Karimba explained that some products were pointed out to be fragile and required protection from aggressive competition while others are imports that provide pivotal revenue to the EAC economies.
John Bosco Kanyangoga, Director Institutional Relations and Policy Advocacy Department explained that the criteria used to classify a product as sensitive was based on mushrooming local industries that require protection to spur their growth.
Products that are highly needed for local consumption and exports that fetch the country high revenues will not be subjected to the Common External Tariff (CET).
But Karimba added that coffee will not be included in the list of sensitive products because currently, there is no regional competition to stand up to Rwanda’s stable success of her coffee sector.
Kanyangoga said that for the past year, through workshops, RRA officials have been traversing the country holding debates with businessmen to enlighten them on the exercise and agree on the sensitive products.
“This exercise had to be carried out in collaboration with local businessmen to agree on which products should be incorporated in the list of sensitive,” explained Knyangoga.