Rwandan Prime Minister Anastaze Murekezi while presenting the government’s industrial activities on Monday 4th April, revealed the government’s commitment to develop local textile firms and phase out second hand garments in the next three years. Taxes on second-hand products especially garments and leather products would increase up to 100% starting the next fiscal year. This among other strategies would discourage consumption of imported products.
Ongoing initiatives by the government include helping Rwanda’s textile firm (UTEXRWA) to produce more and better quality garments and grouping small tailors into firms, providing a particular space for textile firms at the Special Economic Zone and encouraging the private sector to invest in the textile industry.
The government will also encourage the production of raw materials such as silk to further reduce Rwanda’s trade deficit which widened by 12.7% in January and February. This was attributed to an increase in formal imports and a decrease in the value of Rwanda’s exports.
Cited challenges facing local industries are heavy costs of water and electricity which are also insufficient. This amidst growth of 7% in the industrial sector from 2010 to 2015 and a rise in exports from $544 million to $1.1 billion in the same period, an increase of 18% annually on average.