The Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) is in the process of starting an online system to improve the efficiency of student loan repayment and recovery.
The system, dubbed “Education Finance Management Information System (EFMIS),” is expected to be in place by the end of March next year.
The information system is likely to improve services in terms of database management of students who have benefited from the Government Scholarship Programme since 1980.
The system will be accessible to all institutions of higher learning, Rwanda Education Board (REB), and companies whose employees benefited from the scheme, as well as the bank in charge of recovering the loans.
Subscribers will register and once they want to access the platform they will need to enter their user names and passwords.
For beneficiaries, they will be able to check all information about their loans through their accounts on the system.
The facility will allow institutions and REB to upload lists of beneficiaries as well as enabling employers to upload the monthly data on loan declarations and clarify deducted amounts from beneficiaries’ incomes.
In 2016, the Development Bank of Rwanda was given the responsibilities of recovering students’ loans by Rwanda Education Board (REB).
Since the bank took the responsibilities, it has recovered Rwf2,853,733,579, bringing the total of loan recovered since 2008 to Rwf13,421,158,476.
The total fund used to support students under government scholarship programme since 1980 is Rwf87.7 billion and around 68,870 students benefited.
Only 12,000 beneficiaries are active in repaying the loan. Currently, 8 per cent of the gross salaries are each month deducted from beneficiaries’ incomes to pay the loan.
BRD senior manager in the education finance department, Fred Mugisha, said in an interview that the bank was satisfied with the pace of recovering the loans since it was given the responsibility.
He said the new information system will ensure accuracy and improved management of the database in order to meet the target of recovering the loans.
“In just two years, we have managed to collect over Rwf2 billion. This is an indication of efforts spent on the issue in partnership with other stakeholders,” Mugisha said.
The bank is confident that within 10 years it should have sufficient funds to enable it to keep supporting students without demanding funds from the government.
“We want to increase public awareness about the issue. People should know that loan repayment will support their brothers and sisters as well as their children in future. This is a noble thing that will benefit all Rwandans,” Mugisha said.