SACCOs Rwf 2.6 billion budget allocation to boost savings
The government has in the 2012/2013 budget allocated Rwf 2.6 billion to savings and Credit Cooperatives- SACCOs as one way of increasing savings needed to boost economic and social transformation.
The allocations will fund technical assistance activities meant to strengthen SACCOs and improve their performance to accelerate savings and financial inclusion and access to credit, especially for the rural poor.
“The government is of the view that SACCOs can become an important instrument of economic and social transformation, especially in rural areas,” John Rwangombwa, Finance Minister said in his Budget speech on Thursday.
It has also allocated Rwf 5 billion to increase the capital of Umwalimu Sacco (Teachers’ Cooperative).
The Minister notes that emphasis in 2012 will be put on actions aimed at completing the licensing of SACCOs established in line with UMURENGE SACCO Program as well as their monitoring and supervision.
“335 out of 416 Imirenge SACCO have full operating license. All Imirenge SACCOs have the authorization to grant loans,” the Minister said.
Moreover, as of end March 2012, all 416 SACCOs are authorised to grant loans including the 273 fully licensed which are authorised to loan up to 40 percent of their deposits, while 143 not fully licensed can loan up to 20 percent of their deposits.
This, considering the great performance of SACCOs in increasing savings, credit access among the rural poor where net deposits by these SACCOs grew to over Rwf 26 billion by April this year will help in increasing financial inclusion for all.
Damien Mugabo, Director General Rwanda Cooperative Agency, welcomes the allocations, adding that the agencies main activities this fiscal year will be on networking all SACCOs in the country to a one platform, sensitising and mobilising people to join SACCOS among other things.
“This fiscal year we will continue to build the capacity of SACCOs in loan granting, book keeping, administration for all SACCO managers,” he said, adding that this will solve the issue of lack of skills that have been hindering growth in SACCOs.
Mugabo noted that the allocations will also help in linking Non- financial cooperatives which are under the crop intensification program to SACCOS to access credit as one way of enhancing their production.
Rita Ngarambe, Executive Secretary of Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda-AMIR, notes that the government’s move to support Sacco’s growth will spearhead financial inclusion and access to credit for rural areas, thus creating a base for Microfinance operations.
“When more people are saving, this means there is enough liquidity for Microfinance Institutions to give out as loans, it will also enable them to go down in rural areas to bank the unbanked,” she said.
By Dias Nyesiga, The New Times
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