There is need to inject more money in the export growth fund, for the government to see an improvement in economic growth and achieve its dream to decrease the gap between imports and exports, the Private Sector Federation said.
Appearing before the parliamentary Commission on National Budget and Patrimony to contribute to the Budget Framework Paper, the Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), Stephen Ruzibiza said budget increase will help more people to get loans to invest in exports which mostly request hefty sums.
He pointed out that for the 2016/2017 budget; only Rfw8billion had been allocated toward export growth which in his opinion is a drop in the ocean.
“We are requesting that as projections are being made; let the money that goes into this fund also be increased. This fund has been here for a short time but if we are planning to increase on exports, improve on production and improvement of economic growth, then something needs to be done,” he said.
Ruzubiza explained that in other countries, the person or company that is interested in their products is given a loan by the export fund something that has double benefits of increasing exports as well as earning interests on the loans.
“In Rwanda, that fund only helps people in Rwanda interested in exporting but it should be open to everyone so that they can sell our products but also make us money in terms of interest. What banks need is to look at business’ books and figure out how best they can mutually benefit,” he said.
He also requested that the guarantee cover is set in motion because to-date, most farmers continue to struggle with agricultural cover since it is considered risky and only a handful of people are able to apply for it.
Ruzibiza also appealed for more multi service facilities to be built in more countries, saying that investors should be spared some expenses.
“We have a multi service center in Congo Brazzaville where exports from Rwanda go straight in these stores and warehouses. We have a good relationship with many countries and we should strive to open many more. However, before an investor doing business, there is infrastructure that he needs, and some of it shouldn’t be something that he himself spends money on,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker in charge of finance and administration; Abbas Mukama said there is need to grant more tenders to locals as an incentive for them to produce better and more.
He however wondered what PSF was doing to ensure that quality and standards are not compromised.
“Let all Rwandans consume the Made In Rwanda products first before we turn to imported goods as a way of promoting our own and improving on our economy because it benefits everyone. However, for this to happen, the quality must be able to compete with the imports in terms of stands. What are you doing to make sure this happens,” he wondered.
The Head of the Economic Cluster in the commission said that the analysis done by the commission observed the value of the private sector since it is connected to every aspect of the people’s lives.
“Whether it is in business, ICT, industry, cooperatives, infrastructure, and many more, the private sector is connected to each domain. This is in line with one of the foundations of EDPRS and Vision 2020, where this sector is a pillar of this country’s future economic independence.
He called for some incentives to be considered and insurance cover to be given due consideration if the private sector is to grow as fast as desired.
This is the second time PSF was meeting members of parliament. In March this year, members of the PSF management team met the Senatorial Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance to whom they addressed their frustrations, chief among them being the government red tape which they said remains one of the challenges frustrating both local and foreign investors.