New financial inclusion program to boost Umurunge Sacco

Rwanda’s grassroots savings mobilisation scheme commonly known as Umurenge Sacco is set for further deepening  with a newly instituted  penetration policy as central bank announced that the scheme’s deposits reached Rwf14.7b with Rwf1.8b dished out as loans by  mid this year.

Rwanda’s grassroots savings mobilisation scheme commonly known as Umurenge Sacco is set for further deepening  with a newly instituted  penetration policy as central bank announced that the scheme’s deposits reached Rwf14.7b with Rwf1.8b dished out as loans by  mid this year.

Central bank says in its latest monetary policy and financial stability statement since May this year , that it set up a technical control unit specifically to supervise and monitor the development and sustainability of Umurenge Saccos countrywide.

This unit, which is composed of a team of two inspectors appointed in each district, is tasked with further deepening financial inclusion countrywide in close collaboration with a devolved initiative known as Access to Finance Forum (AFF).

“The AFF is a platform where local authorities, financial institutions, the technical control unit of saccos  and development partners meet and discuss the constraints relating to access to finance on both demand and supply sides and working out how to address them,” the monetary policy and financial stability statement says.

The central bank adds that its on-site focus on Umurenge Sacco has in turn significantly boosted the activities of the savings and credit societies countrywide.  Saccos countywide now have deposits reaching Rwf35b by mid this year up from Rwf21b last year while gross loans given out rose to Rwf32.2b up from Rwf30.5b last year.

Supervision of Saccos countrywide, which form part of the Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), is the central bank’s mandate. Under the period of review, central bank says that it carried out both off-site and on-site examination on a regular basis.

“In order to improve the efficiency of MFI’s operations, 21 full scope inspections were conducted and 11 targeted inspections were completed in the first semester of 2011.”

The supervision revealed that among the 416 Umurenge Saccos, only five had definitive operating licenses while 355 were licensed to grant loans by June 2011.This figure represents 86.4 per cent of Saccos provisionally licensed to collect savings and share capital.

The technical control unit visited over half of the 416 Saccos in bid to consolidate the workings of the Saccos under their areas of jurisdiction

“The consolidation process of small saccos into more viable units is ongoing. In this regard, 11 small saccos including four COOJADS were merged with the Umurenge saccos while 21 others were identified to start the merging process either within their own networks or with the Umurenge Sacco”.

Part of the onsite supervision by the central bank identified some of difficulties hindering Saccos from attaining loan granting licenses.

Inspections carried out revealed that Saccos which are yet to be granted such licenses lack the Rwf10m minimum deposit as well as capacity to prepare reliable business plans and procedure manuals needed in order to be fully licensed.

 Financial inclusion remains on Central bank’s key agenda. In that respect, Central bank granted 355 Saccos with licenses to issue loans. The move saw bank account deposits increase by 10.4 percent from 1.6 million to 1.8 million accounts countrywide.

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