Customers having Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards in Rwanda may no longer suffer queuing for ‘hours’ in banking halls before they access their money.
David Kuwana, managing director Rwanda Commercial Bank (BCR) says by the end of this year, 100 ATMs will be available in the country.
The announcement comes at a time commercial banks in the country have always blamed Simtel, a consortium formed by the banks and government to provide electronic banking transactions for failing the service.
Though the commercial banks have the capacity to source the ATMs and the cards, government accorded Simtel the sole rights of proving the ATM services in the country.
Sources close to The New Times say in 2004, when local banks were being taken over by international investors—BCR by Actis while Bacar by Fina Bank, and Bank of Commerce Development and Industry (BCDI) collapsing due to mismanagement, Simtel also almost closed. The company was plunged into financial constraints. Some shareholders were pulling out of the consortium.
Government, the architect of ATM services and majority shareholder had to move in to save the company by pumping in more capital, to keep the company running, until recently when the Germans, under the African Development Corporation (ADC) were sourced, to recapitalise the company by investing $3 million (1.7billion).
ATM in two days
“ATM cards now take a month to be delivered. It is a big improvement since it used to take up to six months. And for the next two or three months or so the card could be available in 48 hours (2 days),” Kuwana said.
The mangers’ statement comes a few days Francois Kanimba, chairman Smitel chairman said that ATM cards’ processing will be done in Kigali.
Kanimba, who is also the governor of the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), the majority shareholder in Simtel said that government is aiming at modernising the national payment system and setting up a national payment council.
Currently there are less than seventeen ATMs in the country, which are also said to be under utilised, partly because they were unreliable as customers could go to withdraw but leave without cash.
“The machines are 98 per cent efficient,” Kuwana said. He asked account holders to apply for the cards.