3 September 2012

Rwanda: Standards to Restore Private Sector

Kigali — Standards and quality conformity is looked at as the best way to leapfrog the hopeful driver of the country's economy currently dominated by informal sector.

Mr Mark Cyubahiro, Managing Director Rwanda Bureau of Standards-RBS says that poor standards have hamper the country's private sector to increase its competitiveness on both regional and international markets.

"There is an industrial revolution in the country and there is need to harmonize the standards so that our products can easily access market," he said during the signing of MoU between RBS and the Private Sector Federation in Kigali last week.

The private sector especially in the export domain has been lacking knowledge on standardization which lowers the quality of exports, something that has increased the country's trade deficit.

During the first quarter of this year, the country's imports grew to US$ 541.5 million indicating a 3 % increase compared exports that fetched Rwf US$104.8 million despite a 29.5 % increase, calling for more measures to increase exports.

"Our partnership with Private sector will help in addressing the challenges Rwanda exporters have been facing on international market," Cyubahiro said

Accordingly, the memorandum of understanding which pins partnership between PSF and RBS will facilitate ease of businesses' access to certification services, its benefits and provide technical support to the sector in order to adapt to the wider competitive market.

"The standards awareness raising campaigns will go a long way in educating the entrepreneurs that application of quality and safety standards is the apex of value addition," he said.

He adds, "It is our mandate therefore that we support the private sector in ensuring that products from Rwanda meet standards".

Hannington Namara, Chief Executive Officer, Private Sector Federation-PSF says that the understanding will help the private sector especially informal sector in identifying what it needs to have to become more competitive.

"Our important stake is to regularly monitor and evaluate performance of supported enterprises and advise them in order to ensure that their activities have positive impact on their operations," he said adding that this will also minimize business losses which are as a result of failure to meet standards.

Experts are optimistic that the understanding will also assist informal sector currently struggling to formalize their operations to improve quality of their products and access markets.

"It is an impendent not to know as an informal sector player which standards you need to have for you to leave informal to formal," he said.

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