The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Michel Minega Sebera, has urgedboth big and small enterprises dealing in Made-in-Rwanda products to make use of the Economic Recovery Fund (ERF) to cope with Covid-19 effects.
He was speaking during the closing ceremony of the International Trade Fair (Expo2020) at the Expo Grounds in Gikondo – Kigali that started December 11 and set to wind up on December 31, 2020.D
During the ceremony, the best exhibitors were also awarded.
Bank of Kigali emerged the best exhibitor, followed by Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) and the third was Bonjour Hygiene Products Ltd.
Other categories that were recognised include young entrepreneur’s enterprise which went to Holly Trust Ltd and woman entrepreneur which was taken by Pharmalab Ltd.
Food and beverages firm, Inyange industries emerged the best exhibitor in agro-processing, Prime Cement in manufacturing, MTN Rwanda in ICT and Milbridge Group in innovation.
The pension body, RSSB was rewarded in the financial services category while Turkey was crowned the best foreign country exhibitor.
The exhibition was attended by 382 businesses of which about 40 were SMEs most of which producing Made-in-Rwanda products.
78 foreign exhibitors.“The exhibition was held in the difficult times of Covid-19 but people tried to attend. Made in Rwanda products have improved in quality and they are contributing to Rwanda’s GDP. Even if they were affected by the pandemic, they should start making use of the recovery fund to increase products for both domestic and export markets,” he said.
He said that in partnership with the finance ministry, they are working to provide them with working capital and other funds to run their business better.
Government is reviewing the terms and conditions for local firms eligible to benefit from the Economic Recovery Fund to increase the number of local businesses accessing funds.
This follows a relatively low uptake of the facility in which government pumped Rwf100 billion to help Rwandan businesses navigate the hard times brought about by the pandemic.
The low uptake was blamed on low understanding on how the fund works amongst both banks and business operators.
The terms and criteria for eligibility to benefit from the fund are currently under review to improve uptake.
Among key changes that are being considered include reviewing the extent of losses resulting from the pandemic from 50 per cent to 30 per cent.
Best exhibitors speak out
Shaffy Hagenimana, a young entrepreneur who owns Holly Trust Ltd, which produces different products from locally available raw materials said that he employed 15 workers to make sure his firm maximised the Expo platform.
“Our sales increased day to day during the exhibition but the main aim was to market our products. We have gained many new clients and we hope our business will grow.
We exhibited different products such as cooking oil like avocado organic oil, carrot oil, avocado oil, coconuts oil, Sesame oil, soaps from avocados and honey, processed honey, skin cream from honey, Detox tea that copes with body fats and others,” he said.