Buy local, urges Kagame

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By Leonard Nshimiyimana

Kagame (R) interacts with STRAWTEC Building Solutions that makes construction materials – boards – from straws

President Paul Kagame has urged Rwandans to increase the amount of locally manufactured product that they purchase in order to build the manufacturing industry in the country.

Speaking during a meeting with Gasabo local leaders shortly after touring the special economic zone, the head of state said that there are a lot of goods that are imported, yet similar ones are manufactured locally and urged Rwandans to “buy Made in Rwandan and build Rwanda”.

“It is not acceptable that we import low quality goods when we have the ability to produce high quality products in Rwanda,” said Kagame.

According to the World Bank released in October 2016, Rwanda ranked 2nd in the ease of doing business on the African continent after Mauritius and topped the list in the East African Community member states.

However, with the poor consumption of locally-manufactured products puts investors’ back against the wall hence their businesses lay on the line of closing doors which will surely impact the government’s job opportunities as well as taxes.

“We have to ensure that the investments made here benefit the investors, but most importantly it must benefit Rwandans,” added Kagame.

The made-in Rwanda campaign launched over two years ago with aim to boost exports and fix the gap of trade imbalance.  Imports increased to $169.91 Million in November from $156.90 Million in October 2016 while exports stood at $53.34 million and the trade deficit worth $116.57 million.

Locally-made products are expected to bring in the total foreign exchange of $450 million per year, according to the study by former MINICOM called “Domestic Market Recapturing Strategy (DMRS)” validated in February 2015, which indicated three key potential sectors to recapture the domestic market; construction materials, which account for $206 million; light manufacturing, which accounts for $124m; and agro-processing, which accounts for $112 million.

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