Hundreds of jobless women got a reprieve after they were called to make facemasks, as the local garments industry move to meet the six million face masks demand.
After the government made it compulsory for everyone to wear facemasks in public places as a precautionary directive to curb the spread of Covid19, the local garment manufacturers swung into action to make them locally.
Clemantine Niyodusaba had found herself between a rock and a hard place, saying she had closed her tailoring shop for more than a month when lockdown was announced. “I was completely stranded, I didn’t know what to do, and the government declared wearing masks a must for everyone, in the next few days we were told to start making masks. “I have been making facemasks for ten days now, sales are growing every day, and we expect them to grow further as people slowly resume movements, it is such a big relief for my business” she said.
Upon securing a license from Food and Drug Authority, up to 45-garment making companies, which operate under their umbrella company, Apparel manufacturing Group (AMG), recalled their tailors, assembled machinery and started mass production of facemasks at MIC building.
In two weeks, the team of over 500 tailors, 90 per cent of whom are women, have produced up to 1 million facemasks, but they still have a long way to go to beat the target of 6 million masks in a month, which they have been given.
“The demand is very high compared with the supply, we didn’t have enough time to plan for this, we just channeled the materials meant for making normal clothes to making facemasks. “We shall need to import more materials from China, get more machines and expand our facilities, this needs funds,” said Justus Mugaruka, chief executive of AMG. He said much as they have enough stock at the moment, it is quickly getting depleted and soon they will need to order more stock.