Rwanda: New Garment Factory to Boost Employment Creation

A new garment factory; "Kigali Garment Centre Ltd," is set to begin mass production of garments in the next two weeks after government, through Workforce Development Authority, placed thousands of youth to different industries for training and employment.

The company had projected Rwf2 billion as start-up capital but Jerome Mugabo, the Director General of the company, told Business Times that they will directly begin with Rwf500 million in capital.

Different tailors across the country have pooled their resources together to set up the factory in Gahanga semi-industrial zone in Kicukiro district.

"We are working with government institutions in charge of workforce development so that we get skilled youth for our operations as part of job creation. We have pledged that 60 per cent of our workforce will be youth. Our machines have the capacity to start employing 200 workers and Workforce Development Authority allocated 90 youth to us last week for training and employing," he said.

DG of WDA Eng Pascal Gatabazi says 9,000 youths will get jobs through the initiative .Michel Nkurunziza

He said that the workers will be increased to 450 in the coming months.

"We are a new company and it is the first time for our factory to train the youth. We have installed 146 machines, including six special machines and offices. We need committed youth in tailoring career. We traversed through different districts looking for the youth in conjunction with WDA.

We will train and give them jobs," he said.

We also wish to train more youth so that they can even showcase the skills and get jobs elsewhere, he added.

Factories managers said it requires at least Rwf1 million to train one trainee.Michel Nkurunziza

Once full-scale production starts, the factory targets to produce 500 T-shirts, 600 polo trousers, 300 jeans, 1,500 polo shirts, and 2,500 round neck shirts daily as well as over 5,000 suits per month.

Mugabo said that they will also produce duvets, bed sheets as well as branded sweaters and caps.

He said that mass production and incentives from the government will bring down the production cost, consequently leading to a reduction in prices for the products.

In 2016, Rwanda increased taxes on used clothes from $0.2 to $2.5 per kilogramme, as part of the broader strategy to phase out the importation of used clothes and promote locally made clothes.

In March this year, another garment factory TAI Rwanda Ltd was also allocated youth for training and employment.

The factory produces garments such as jeans, cotton trousers and T-shirts.

According to Emmanuel Habineza, the company, received Rwf100 million to train over 100 youths of whom 70 per cent have to be retained for employment.

The factory with about 150 machine operators started production last year and produces 1,000 T-shirts, 1,000 jeans and 1,000 cotton clothes per day and targets to increase workers to 2,500 workers. The company created 9,000 jobs for youth.

Under the skills development programme, Pascal Gatabazi who is the Director General of Workforce Development Authority said that over 9,000 youth are set to get jobs after being deployed to different private sector industries.

"In March this year, we deployed 4,500 youths in private industries for training and employment under an investment of Rwf2 billion. Today we have invested Rwf1.7 billion for up 2,445 youths," he said.

The second batch of trainees will be deployed in 51 companies in various sectors including energy, manufacturing and transport.

He said that the programme, sponsored by World Bank, seeks to close gap between the needed skills on labour market and skills learnt schools.

"We are resorting to private sector for training since some schools have no enough equipment which lead graduates to lack competitive skills on labour market. Thanks to Made in Rwanda policy, investments are increasing for local products and it requires technical skills by graduates. Therefore training more youth will help more industries to get the skilled workforce," he said.

He stressed that new factories need rapid respond in terms of the workforce which has to be solved by mass vocational training to youth.

"Private sector is receiving receive youth for professional training for at least 4 months which ends in employing them. Elsewhere in developed countries, 70 per cent of TVETs students are trained in private sector industries to bridge the gap between labour market and class," he noted.

He added that as the Ministry of Education has reserved $200 million to build and renovate 11,000 schools to reduce students' congestion in classes, TVET schools are also beneficiaries.

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