As many as 460 Umurenge SACCOs cannot compete favorably with other financial institutions due to lack of skilled personell to manage modern computerised equipment, officials have said.
Umurenge SACCO is a government initiated community microfinance programme set up in 2009with a mission to ease the population’s access to finance.
Speaking to SACCO members in Gasobo District yesterday, Francisca Mukakaragwa, head of SACCO Development Unit at Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), said that computer skills should be emphasised amongst SACCO employees in order to ease their service delivery.
“Some SACCO workers lack computer skills needed in business management; this is a disadvantage to the cooperatives in today’s competitive business,” Mukakarangwa said.
“Most people still prefer to deal with banks rather than with SACCOs due to such challenges. We therefore need to gear up sensitisation campaigns about the importance of SACCOs, while we help to improve skills.”
To avert the skills challenge, RCA is developing a model management system that will be implemented in district SACCOs to equip workers with computer skills as well as aid data collection and dissemination.
“Lack of computer competences is a very serious challenge affecting this institution, therefore finding a solution will help boost services provided by these institutions,” Peter Rwema, the Director of Research and Development at the Association of Microfinance Institution of Rwanda added.
A total of 416 Umurenge SACCOs are registered by the central bank and provide financial services to over 1.5 million people with capital base of about Rwf77billion, according to RCA statistics.
While most commercial banks charge interest between 18 percent and 20 percent on loans, SACCOs range between 2 percent and 4percent on soft loans, making them more attractive to the rural sector and target groups like teachers.
Deposits and gross loans registered by the SACCOs amounted to Rwf30.2 billion and Rwf10 billion in June 2012 against Rwf22.5 billion and Rwf4.7 billion in December 2011, showing an increase of 34.2 percent and 112.7 percent respectively.
Their total assets increased by 40.6%, from Rwf29 billion in June 2011 to Rwf 40.8 billion June 2012.