The business community has been urged to embrace e-payment and other digital financial services and facilities to improve operations and also strengthen efforts geared at achieving a cashless economy.
According to the head of payment systems at National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) John Karamuka, the move toward a cashless economy cannot be achieved without the full support of private sector.
“We call upon you to take this as a responsibility because the realisation of a digital economy will be largely private sector-rooted,” said Karamuka.
The BNR official was addressing the private sector members from Eastern Province at Rwamagana as part of the ongoing campaign to discuss how the country can fast-track the achievement of a cashless economy.
The central bank is conducting an awareness drive on e-payment systems and has already met different groups from various sectors, including engineers, pharmacists, contractors and other business people in Kigali, Musanze, Rusizi and Nyamasheke. Rwanda’s economy is expected to be largely digital-driven by 2024 with minimal paper money in circulation.
Karamuka told the business community in Eastern Province that adopting e-payment systems could enable them win confidence of banks and ease their access to funding. “Embracing e-payments will help enhance trust between banks and their clients. This will also increase access to bank credit at lower interest rates because financial institutions will be able to track one’s record with ease,” he added.
Benon Mutabuza, from Kabarore in Gatsibo District, was worried that e-services could turn away buyers, saying that not all customers can afford the devices or card while some businesses do not have points of sale (POS) facilities.
“For instance, most of the porters at construction sites may not be having telephones on which they can receive their wages or use to pay for goods bought. Therefore, such sections of buyers may shun businesses that use e-payments systems,” said Mutabuza.
Immaculate Nyiraneza, from Kirehe District, said the charges are still high, noting that when sending or withdrawing money on their phones they paid a lot of money.
However, BNR’s Karamuka revealed that sending money could soon be free with a small fee charged to withdrawal. The central bank’s e-payments campaign continues in Muhanga and Huye districts this week.