A new audit which has exposed poor performance in Rwanda’s wood industry has compelled the government to start an open competition that will see established companies earn fund and skills to boost the sector.
On July 25, 2019, the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) published results of the audit where it was found that of 127 companies in the sample, only 1% use automated system in wood processing.
According to the findings, 45% of the wood processing companies are still using mechanical means, while 54% are semi-automated.
This hinders the country resolve of increasing exports of added value products to reduce trade imbalance.
For example, available figures from National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda indicate that imports of wood products including paper and paperboards stood at $34.73 million in 2017.
Rwanda imports paper and paperboard products including notebooks, folders, and albums in Egypt, Malaysia, China, among other countries.
“Wood processing firms need to use high technology to produce wood products but their investment capital is still wanting,” Kampeta Sayinzoga, Director General of NIRDA said.
“We shall help firms to acquire high-end technologies through an upcoming open call programs.”
According to NIRDA officials, firms dealing with wood processing value chain will apply for support through NIRDA’s online portal.
The application process is coupled with coaching support to have the very best.
The number of selected companies/ firms will determine the fund required to invest in technologies, capacity building, and advisory.
“In addition, as per the tech audit recommendations, stakeholders mapping was proposed and shall be an important tool to involve them,” Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti, the Communication Specialists at NIRDA told KT Press.
“We will support those that have been running businesses for not less than two years. We don’t intend to support start-ups but rather those companies which are in the business and can boost the production when supported, as champions.”
However, NIRDA specified that, as an institution they do not offer money, rather, they will fund purchase of equipment. Their approach is to “help selected firms buy modern equipment that use modern technologies to boost efficiency as well as creating more decent jobs,” according to Mbonyinshuti.
Application for this sponsorship will open in August this year and will run for one month.