The Senate has raised concerns over the difficulties raised by potential exporters in accessing funds from several banking institutions, The New Times reports.
Senator Speciose Ayinkamiye, who heads the Senatorial Committee on Economic Development and Finance, told the Senate last Friday that potential exporters had consistently complained about lack of funds to support their ventures.
“There was an issue of potential exporters who complained about lack of easy access to loans and the high interest rates charged by banks,” she said.
The government, in its bid to support exporters, took a decision to inject Rwf 3 billion in the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) annually.
According to Ayinkamiye, so far, the government has injected Rwf 12 billion, Rwf 5.5 of which has been spent on tea while Rwf 5.1 billion went to coffee.
“The loans were issued at an interest rate between 8 -13 percent basing on the risks encountered in each sector,” she said
However, she explained that besides the government’s efforts, the bank itself sunk Rfw 4 billion into export trade bringing its total investment portfolio to Rwf 16 billion.
She explained that BRD was also encouraging traders to borrow from the Agriculture Guarantee Fund in the National Bank of Rwanda.
“The Agriculture Guarantee Fund has so far issued Rwf 3.5 million. Though this fund supports agro-based proposals, it straps a 30 percent security on short term and 50 percent on long term loans,” she said.
So far, BRD has consumed Rwf 44 percent of all the money deposited in BNR
Senator Antoine Mugesera suggested that if agriculture was given its due attention, Rwandans living in rural areas would be self sustaining.
Senator Immaculée Kayumba Gahima appealed to fellow Senators to refrain from being ‘overly ambitious.’
“We should refrain from complaining and look back at the past as compared to the present. Everything has to pass through a process, not everything can be done at the same time,” she said.