Rwanda steel dealers have only 90 days to comply with new standards requiring them to tag all their products indicating country of origin.
A communiqué dated August 30 addressed to both manufacturers and importers of steel reinforcement of concrete, roofing steel sheets and steel hollow section is a second warning after a public notice of August 3.
According to the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), the materials found without tags will be destroyed or re-exported to the country of origin with importers bearing the cost.
All the dealers “are given three months to adopt product marking. Beyond that period, unmarked materials will not be allowed in the Rwandan market,”reads part of the communiqué.
“In the interim, the quality will continue to be monitored via industrial inspection and market surveillance.”
Dr. Cyubahiro Mark Bagabe, the RSB Director General told KT Press, “there has been a trend of importers and manufacturers who delete the markings or identity of the materials, to mislead both the clients and our inspectors.”
According to Bagabe the marking indicates several specifications, including grades of the materials, “but some dealers remove such information and when we confiscate the materials from a given retailer, we don’t know who to hold responsible.”
Rwanda is a net importer of steel, with only two steel manufacturers in the country.
The country has a fast growing construction industry providing a huge investment opportunity, with 51% of recent investments coming from the sector, according to Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Steel products represent 4 of the 11 largest building material imports coming into Rwanda, with $ 74 million per year in imports (surpassing cement, Rwanda’s biggest imported material, at $50 million.)
Steel materials are mainly imported from China and Uganda at a tune of nearly 60% of all hollow sections and tubes and 50% of roofing flat sheets.
Rwanda would risk becoming a dumping site of the metal, if RSB is not watchful.
The country will require 13,000 tons of steel bars and 1.7 million square meters of roofing sheets for 344,000 dwelling units needed only in Kigali city by 2022.