Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi and government officials at a stall for Made in Rwanda clothes yesterday. / Nadege Imbabazi
The next five years will see local manufacturing sector grow by 30 per cent, the Chairperson of the Private Sector Federation, Benjamin Gasamagera, has said.
Gasamagera, who was speaking at the opening the second edition of Made-in-Rwanda exhibition at Expo Grounds in Gikondo, suggested that for Rwandan products to compete more, some measures needed to be taken.
“The Government should give Made-in-Rwanda products like construction materials and office equipment preferential treatment during tendering processes. We are also of the idea that, if possible, a law stipulating that at least 50 per cent of products used in construction or in offices should be locally made be considered,” he said.
PSF Chairman Benjamin Gasamagera (L), Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi (C), and Minister for Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs Francois Kanimba officially open the Made in Rwanda Expo yesterday. / Nadege Imbabazi
The Minister for Trade, Industry, and East African Community Affairs, François Kanimba, told the business community that the campaign to promote Made-in-Rwanda products is one of the strategies to bridge the import gap.
Kanimba said although the Government is dedicated to increasing exports, it was also aware that this can only be possible by devising strong programmes that target increasing on productivity, especially in industries.
“We are working with different categories of Rwandans in the area of wealth creation so that they are able to produce more based on quality and their ability to compete on the market. We have a plan to use experts to advise our industrialists. We are working with 15 industries to see how they can produce affordable quality products,” he said.
Guests at the launch of Made in Rwanda Expo yesterday. / Nadege Imbabazi
Opening the expo, Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi told the business community that Rwanda was not doing itself any favours by continuing to import most of its goods.
“Though the export numbers continue to improve, they still remain at a significantly low level as compared to imports. In 2015, we exported goods worth $389m, but we imported goods worth $1,863m meaning that what we imported is four times what we exported. The journey is really long,” he said.
Murekezi said some of the goods the country continues to import can be manufactured locally.
The first ever Made-in-Rwanda expo took place in February this year. The second edition has attracted about 300 traders. It runs until December 20.