Government has done a lot for MFIs

Editor, This is in reference to the business article, “Microfinance banks seek tax law review”, (The New Times, April 2). Allow me to make a few clarifications on the above mentioned article to make it more comprehensive.
A woman tending her climbing beans. Microfinance institutions are seen as instrumental in transforming the lives of Rwanda’s small-holder farmers. Net photo.
A woman tending her climbing beans. Microfinance institutions are seen as instrumental in transforming the lives of Rwanda’s small-holder farmers. Net photo.

Editor,

This is in reference to the business article, “Microfinance banks seek tax law review”, (The New Times, April 2). Allow me to make a few clarifications on the above mentioned article to make it more comprehensive.

I would like to shed light on some of the elements that were not clearly explained.

Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) believes that government has done much in creating conducive legal environment for Microfinance (MFI) activities to flourish and we have worked with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to revise the leasing law that was taken to parliament for enactment.

On the double VAT, what happens is that on top of, let’s say 18%, of the interest rates charged by an MFI, it in turn pays 18% on each lease loan which makes interest rates hike up to at least 21% in this case instead of  36% mentioned in the second paragraph of the article.

We only wrote to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to help in expediting the leasing law but not the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister as mentioned except that we request him to help with the follow up of this law.

On the issue of registration of securities, we believe that it is a good process but should be decentralised and 20,000 Rwandan Francs as security registration fees is too much for micro loans.

We appreciate local taxes but a patent of around 200,000 per each branch discourages access to finance initiatives and as all MFIs are paying corporate taxes of 30%, we request that patents be harmonised or waived.


Peter Rwema, Research and Development Director/AMIR, Kigali
Rwanda

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