The poor customer care among the business community is undermining Rwanda’s progress in business trends, according to an official from Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Frank Twagira, Coordinator of Doing Business at RDB said that poor customer care is evident in most districts in the country where endorsement of the investor’s license is done after weeks or months.
“This is something that can be done in a few days. They don’t know that this affects doing business in the country,” he said.
His comments come just months after the World Bank ranked Rwanda as the world’s top reformer in the ease of doing business.
Twagira further disclosed that his office is tasked with implementing a three year doing business plan but reiterated that poor customer care was one of the major hindrances.
He said this during a forum that convened representatives of financial institutions at Serena Hotel in Kigali City.
The meeting that was organised by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and RDB aimed at pooling institutions together to discuss solutions for poor customer care within their operations.
François Kanimba, the Governor of the Central Bank said that he had had a one on one dialogue with every institution on the improvement of the financial sector.
Kanimba said that since the talks the institutions have embarked on action plans and have made improvements.
“I talked to every institution and they have increased the access to financial services.
They have opened up branches in rural areas, people don’t have to move from the villages to bank money in the city,” he said.
However, he underscored that the customer care issue needed to be considered more by financial institutions.
“They (financial institutions) have made improvements but customer care needs more effort,” he said.
Last year, On The Frontier (OTF) Group, an American consultancy on competitiveness carried out a survey on the situation of customer care and estimated that the country was losing $40m (Rwf22.8b) annually.
Kanimba said that this estimate could be less than what the country loses in real terms.
In another survey carried out by OTF on the relationship of businesses and financial institutions that was presented during the discussion, it pointed out the businessmen’s recurrent complaints.
The stakeholders included banks, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and insurance companies.
The survey that was carried out on 900 business entities disclosed that there was bureaucracies in banks, hindering easy access to credit and that Rwanda’s financial institutions had limited understanding of the business community.
In reaction some of the heads of financial institutions reiterated that the clients needed to get acquainted with the operations of the financial institutions.
“They don’t expect to come to a bank and get a loan. There are procedures and requirements that must be followed,” said Steve Caley, Managing director of FINA Bank, who is also the Chairman of the Association of Financial institutions in Rwanda.
But he added that the financial institutions must improve on quick services for the clients.