Beneficiaries of the Workplace Learning Support Programme – IGIRA KU MURIMO contribute to Made-in-Rwanda Facemasks production amid Coronavirus Pandemic The Government of Rwanda called on the public to always wear facemasks especially while moving in public places as part of the efforts to contain COVID-19 pandemic. In line with Made in Rwanda policy, the Government incentivized the production of facemasks by local producers in a bid to facilitate availability and affordability. Some companies collaborating with the Workplace Learning Support Programme in thetailoring sector embraced this initiative. Some programme graduates and apprentices were also offered job opportunities.
Apparel Manufacturing Group (AMG) is among garment factories and tailoring companies allowed to produce facemasks. AMG is a collective investment of more than40 micro garment and tailoring firms including 10 among the 38 tailoring companiescollaborating with the Workplace Learning Support Programme. The group does mass production of modern clothes, including men, women and kids’ wear, and underwear, as well as home textiles like bed covers. However, amid Coronavirus pandemic, all involved companies have shifted their usual work to the production of facemasks.
Before joining Apparel Manufacturing Group, three among the above 10 companies
joined efforts and made a single joint company “Couture du Moment”. This company
hired 6 graduates of the IGIRA KU MURIMO programme as permanent employees
among whom 2 are employed in facemasks production.
“Each member of “Couture du Moment” owns a very small tailoring company that
couldn’t probably comply with AMG requirements and standards. We encourage the
managers of small companies to join their efforts in order to produce more than a single
company and grow quickly. This may even help to cope with Coronavirus impacts on
our businesses. The Government initiative to prioritize local production of facemasks
through Made in Rwanda Policy, in a bid of reducing the dependence on imports,
constitutes a huge benefit for the companies involved in garment and tailoring
sector,” said Solange Nyiraneza, the Manager of TWIZERANE, one of company
members of “Couture du Moment”.
The graduates who were offered part-time jobs in facemasks production are thankful to
the Workplace Learning Support Programme for the skills acquired from the dual
training. “I am among the part-time staff hired to produce facemasks. I am tasked to
produce around 150 facemasks for almost RWF 5,000 per day. If I wasn’t supported by
the programme, I could be among some young people who are today struggling due to
Coronavirus crisis,” says Nibishaka Clotilde Hadidja, one of the programme graduates
from Ngarama TVET schools.
Jeannette Mukandayishimiye is among the apprentices from Cyondo TVET School in
Nyagatare who couldn’t go back to her family from in-company training in Kigali due to
Coronavirus lockdown. She is one of the 187 apprentices of the 2 nd intake of dual
training under IGIRA KU MURIMO Programme who were ending their second term of
training in companies in different districts after a first term of training in schools. She
was hired by African Sewing Club, where she was undertaking in-company training, to
support in facemasks production. Surprisingly, she produces a minimum of 250
facemasks and earns FRW 10,000 per day.
“In 3 weeks, I have made around FRW 200,000. I already realized that IGIRA KU
MURIMO programme is the master key that I have been missing to unlock job
opportunities. I am very much motivated to complete the dual training and encourage
youth to join this programme to acquire employability skills that fit with labour market
needs,” says Jeannette Mukandayishimiye.
To ensure that local firms meet the demand and retail the facemasks at affordable
costs, the Government is considering incentivizing operations in the garment sector.
Rwanda Food and Drug Authority (FDA) released the list of 24 local firms permitted to
officially manufacture facemasks among other Personal Protection Equipment (PEP).
The expected daily production for local producers is estimated at 290,000 pieces a day.
The retail price of the facemasks cannot exceed RWF 500 per piece.
Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the Minister of Trade and Industry said that local manufactures
of Personal Protective Equipment such as facemasks will be facilitated to access raw
material and machines, cargo transport of raw materials in close collaboration with
RwandAir, and will get regular tax exemptions on customs duty and VAT.
Under the support of Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD) through APEFE, the
Workplace Learning Support Programme – IGIRA KU MURIMO, which is the pilot
phase of the Workplace Learning Policy, is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Public
Service and Labour (MIFOTRA) and the Private Sector Federation (PSF). The
programme aims at supporting the role of the private sector and training providers in the
implementation of dual training in Rwanda to ensure that youth employability skills are
boosted to contribute to Rwanda economic growth.