The Private Sector Federation (PSF) the umbrella body of private sector in Rwanda has launched a new countrywide Business Development Service (BDS) network program.
The BDS centers that started in 2006 were meant to facilitate access to finance by small businesses, provide business advisory services, information regarding markets, products on the markets and business networking among others.
The new program covers 22 districts with a resident accountant.
“Last year PSF experienced a decrease in funding from partners as well as members because of the global financial crisis so PSF had to change the BDS approach to a more sustainable one,” said Robert Bayigamba the Chairperson of PSF.
The new approach of resident accountants was introduced in partnership with Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) to enable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) keep proper books of accounts.
Bayigamba said that most micro enterprises can not afford to hire accountants and that under the new arrangement the cost of recruiting one accountant is shared across SMEs.
The federation has also trained trainers who will teach the business community on the skills of using the SME toolkit.
The centers have increased from four at the time of their inception each with seven staff to cover all the districts in the country and by 2008 they had reached 17.
Previously, 800 businesses have been trained on issues regarding tax system while another 340 trained in business management since 2007.
SMEs will also benefit from two guarantee funds in Banque Populaire and Rwanda Development Bank using their business plan that will act as collateral.