By Tullah Stephen
The government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, on Friday launched a new committee that will advise and support the government in undertaking interventions geared towards business competitiveness. The National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) will ensure that institutions and all stakeholders responsible for controls and procedures related to importation, exportation and transit of goods work together and coordinate trade related activities.
NTFC brings together the Private sector, civil society and Public sector representatives as well as trade related service suppliers to discuss issues of trade and trade related policies or measures and agree on better approaches to reform, improve and learn from experiences.
The committee whose launch was in line with the provisions of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) will be chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It is set to play a leading role in developing Rwanda’s road map for the implementation of the trade facilitation agenda along the provisions of TFA and will be instrumental in synergizing trade facilitation perspectives across the country including outreach programme to sensitize stakeholders. It will also monitor and evaluate the performance of Trade Facilitation in Rwanda.
Speaking during the launch, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Honorable Kanimba François said, “Rwandan government is committed to resolving challenges faced by exporters and importers on a daily basis especially burdensome procedures, time consuming processes in export and import, delays at the borders. The newly formed committee will assist in fast tracking and advising on interventions that will create fast, reliable and cost effective trade environment for all.”
Rwanda has been a champion for trade reforms and has already implemented a number of trade facilitation interventions. The interventions have been cited by the Doing business report of the World Bank as key contributors to improving Rwanda’s ranking in ease of doing business index. Rwanda is today ranked among the top 3 African easiest places to do business in 2015 by the World Bank Doing Business Report, 2015. The report also ranked the East African Nation at position 46th out of 189 countries from 143 in 2008 globally.
“One of the key areas we are looking to support the NTFC in is development of an implementation plan and project proposals of new bankable projects that will bridge identified gaps for Rwanda to comply with its obligations under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement,” says Patience Mutesi Trade Mark East Africa Country Director,
“A key area that we are looking to for example is the developments of trade information portals that will enable availability of information to the public and any potential investor into Rwanda,” she added.