The Hanga Umurimo Project (HUP) in Rulindo District is effective in reducing unemployment and eradicating poverty, the Minister for Trade and Industry has said.
Francois Kanimba, who was on Tuesday touring Small and Medium Enterprises and meeting the business community, representatives of financial institutions as well as beneficiaries of Hanga Umurimo Project in Rulindo District, said the scheme is enhancing livelihoods.
Hanga Umurimo Project targets creation of more than 200,000 off-farm jobs annually through facilitating viable enterprises to access capital from financial institutions.
“It is fascinating how people have understood Hanga Umurimo Project and are benefitting from it, we have heard countless testimonies from beneficiaries and no doubt this will go along way in eradicating poverty in our communities,” Kanimba said.
He appreciated the fact that people of various backgrounds including the youth, the elderly, women and men have embraced the programme in the district and urged other districts to emulate it.
The minister also recognised the role Saccos have played in the exercise, mainly for their increased speed in studying applicants’ projects.
“It is impressive that the process is taking less than 15 days. This is very rare in other financial institutions,” he said.
Kanimba said those who benefited from Hanga Umurimo Project should be in position to repay the loans so it can help other prospective beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries speak out
Jean Chrysostome Ntiziryayo, who repairs electronics, is now a proud owner of a construction and electronics workshop in Base Sector, Rulindo.
“I used to depend on down-payments from clients and this was not good both for business and reputation of my workshop. I would not employ anyone because business was really doing badly,” Ntiziryayo said.
“Through Hanga Umurimo, I secured a loan and bought my own machine at Rwf25 million. I now employ 15 staff and can fetch at least Rwf1.2 million in monthly profits. I am willing to support as many people who need to learn from me as possible.”
Germaine Nyiramana, from Buyoga Sector, said she learnt of HUP on eadio and immediately started putting together her pottery project for submission.
“I was given Rwf8.5 million, which I am going to use to enhance my business of moulding household utensils like dishes and cups out of clay.
“I am optimistic my business will generate more money as I have enough training and skilled employees, basically I was already in the business and my only problem was capital, which I have now acquired,” said Nyiramana, who plans to employ more than 20 people.
Minister Kanimba also toured other development activities, including modern farming projects and different Umurenge-Saccos, which he commended for improving welfare of beneficiaries.
Peace Murungi, the representative of HUP in Northern Province, said Rwf251 million will be used to support projects in Rulindo District as phase two of the programme gets underway.
She, however, said some people are willing and have projects to implement but do not have collateral as some banks do not accept land as security.
“Banks are reluctant to cooperate. They know HUP but they really need to understand it well, some banks don’t accept land as collateral,” Murungi said.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry will engage banks to better help them understand and support HUP, Kanimba promised.