KIGALI - Senate President Dr Vincent Biruta and Prime Minister Bernard Makuza are among former beneficiaries of government university education loan facility who repaid the money as a recovery process got underway yesterday. Biruta and Makuza presented cheques worth Frw480, 000 each to Education Minister Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, at Kigali Serena Hotel. It was the same amount most officials paid although Chief Justice Aloysia Cyanzayire repaid Frw1 million. In repayment, according to a contract signed between the government and students, devaluation of Rwandan Franc is not put into consideration.
Other officials that joined in the queue on the first day of the recovery process include ministers Mujawamariya, Christophe Bazivamo (Lands and Environment), Soline Nyirahabimana (President’s Office), Prof. Manasseh Paul Nshuti (Public Service and Labour) and Valerie Nyirahabineza for Gender.
Provincial governors, heads of parastatals and private practitioners also refunded their loans. They all presented symbolic cheques. They were all issued with certificates of payment.
Symbolic cheques were issued at the function by the National Bank (BNR), the Commercial Bank of Rwanda, (BCR), Ecobank and Banque de Kigali, which were all represented.
The Executive Secretary of National Gacaca Jurisdictions, Domitille Mukantaganzwa and Dr James Ndahiro, a blind man, delivered real cheques to the Students’ Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR) staff.
“Gone are the days when people waited for the Government to provide everything to the people…..we have to do away with the dependency syndrome,” Dr Biruta said.
Currently, government-sponsored university students receive a monthly allowance of Frw25, 000 each, but the government recently decided to halt the facility, with officials saying that only students offering selected disciplines will be facilitated.
Biruta said that the recovered money should be re-invested in the education sector to enable it match with the ever-increasing rate of student enrolment to institutions of higher learning.
“All the beneficiaries of the scheme should take an example from the senior government officials who are here today and start paying,” Biruta said.
Meanwhile, Mujawamariya said that the government will this month launch a programme which will help it identify those students who will need government assistance to study in institutions of higher learning.
“The government will consider three aspects for someone to qualify to get loans to join higher learning institutions; first it will be their performance from high school, then they will have offered disciplines relevant to the national development plan; and lastly, it will have to be proven that they could not afford to meet their tuition,” she said.
She said that to make the students loan recovery a success, maximum cooperation was needed from all employers to declare correct information pertaining to their employees’ salaries.
Present at the function were heads of students’ financing authorities from Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, who shared their experiences of how they managed to recover money from former students.