Government and corporate company employees have been urged to save and invest through the local stock market to secure their financial future as well as support national development efforts. Eric Bundugu, the acting Capital Market Authority executive director, said Rwandans, particularly civil servants and corporates should take advantage of the many products listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) to save and invest as one of their side income-generating ventures.
Speaking during a sensitisation workshop for the City of Kigali employees at City Hall on Friday, Bundugu encouraged the participants to save and invest in bonds or shares of listed firms on the RSE.
There are currently eight listed companies, including four local firms - Bralirwa, Bank of Kigali, Crystal Telecoms, I&M Bank Rwanda, and four cross-listed companies, Nation Media Group, Uchumi Supermarkets, KCB and Equity Group. There are also 23 government Treasury bonds listed on the exchange and two corporate bonds for (I&M Bank and IFC), as one unit trust, the Iterambere Fund managed by Rwanda National Investment Trust (RNIT).
The CMA official said the varied products provide Rwandans a huge opportunity to save as well as invest, while firms can come to the market to raise the much-needed affordable investment capital. Currently, the market boasts of more than 16,000 investors, he added. Speaking at the same event, RSE chief Pierre-Celestin Rwabukumba challenged people employed in the formal sector to embrace a savings culture, saying that most corporate and government workers hold accounts just for receiving salaries.
“Even the ordinary Rwandan who joins a SACCO does so hoping to get a loan at some time in the future. However, how does one qualify for a loan if they don’t save?” he wondered. He said when one has invested in shares of any listed company they can use their equity as collateral to acquire credit from banks. “It does not matter how much money you earn, start saving now even if it is as little as Rwf500 or Rwf100,” he added.
He said a country or person that does not save cannot develop, adding that investing through the exchange is essential for Rwanda to realise its development goals. “Saving is the lifeblood of any country. Countries like Malaysia and Singapore have been able to make it because of the high national savings level,” he said.
CMA kicked off the three-month public awareness drive at the beginning of October and is targeting potential retail investors across the country, encouraging them to save and invest through the local bourse.