Rwanda to increase COVID-19 economic recovery fund to 358 mln USD

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KIGALI, March 25 (Xinhua) — Rwanda on Thursday announced a plan to increase this year’s Economic Recovery Fund by more than three times to 350 billion Rwandan francs (about 358 million U.S. dollars) in order to support the recovery of businesses severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Economic Recovery Fund, currently valued at 100 billion Rwandan francs (about 102 million dollars), prioritizes sectors including tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, transport and logistics, agro-processing, education, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) linked to domestic and global supply chains, said Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, while presenting the economic recovery plan in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic to parliament.

The manufacturing industry was one of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, falling by 19 percent, while the construction sector dropped by 6 percent, according to Ngirente.

He said the government has designed the Manufacture and Build to Recover Program, an initiative that aims to fast track private secondary investments in manufacturing and construction.

The program will help reduce the cost of setting up industries of key essential products and facilitating the growth of SMEs in the country, said the prime minister, who is also an economist.

He added that the program is expected to increase industrial output, create 27,394 new direct and indirect jobs, boost exports, recapture domestic market and generate more than 1 billion Rwandan francs (1.02 million dollars) through new investments during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government incentives under the program consist mainly of tax exemption on imported construction materials not available in the East African Community, he said. Enditem

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