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Rwanda unveils textile development strategy
08
Apr '16
The Rwandan government has committed itself to develop local textile firms and phase out second hand garments in the next three years.

Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi made the announcement while presenting the government's industrial activities to Parliament earlier this week, The Rwanda Focus has reported.

Murekezi said the government has decided to increase taxes up to 100 per cent on second hand products – especially garments and leather products – starting the next fiscal year. This is among other strategies to discourage consumption of imported products.

“We shall highly increase taxes on second hand garments and shoes until they get off our market. However, discouraging their importation must be accompanied by improving local textile industry,” he said, adding that government is helping Rwanda's textile firm (UTEXRWA) to produce more and better quality garments and grouping small tailors into firms.

“We provided a particular space for textile firms at the Special Economic Zone and we are encouraging private sector to invest in textile industry,” he said.

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 per cent in January and February, the report said.

According to the country's central bank, Rwanda's trade deficit widened to $297.2 million largely due to an increase in formal imports that rose by about 7.2 per cent, as well as a 9.7 per cent decrease in the value of its exports.

The Prime Minister also announced an ambitious target of raising Rwanda's thread production 60 times the present level.

“We want to increase threads production from 10 tonnes in 2015 to over 600 tonnes in the next three years. We shall put up new firms manufacturing leather products and others treating animal skins to produce leather for manufacturers. We are also mobilizing Rwandans to love locally made products through the 'Made in Rwanda' campaign,” PM Murekezi said.

Challenges facing local industries in general include heavy costs of water and electricity which is also insufficient. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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