The City of Kigali is urging banks to ease procedures for small and medium businesses to acquire loans so as to help create jobs for city dwellers.
Speaking at an investors’ forum attended by government officials, investors and bakers on Monday, Mayor Fidel Ndayisaba stressed the need to find solutions to challenges of small scale businesses.
Vestine Mukeshimana, the director of good governance at the City of Kigali, said the city seeks to help residents engage in business projects under a programme dubbed “Gira ubucuruzi.”
The city authorities, according to Mukeshimana, will help individuals and groups raise start-up capital.
The main objectives of this programme is to promote small scale businesses, provide start-up capital to small entrepreneurs as well as fight delinquency and street vending, Mukeshimana added.
Those expected to support this programme include private sector federation, financial institutions, government and other stakeholders.
The Managing Director of I&M Bank, Sanjeev Anand, said they were willing to support SMEs as the backbone of the economy.
Any bank that does not support SMEs is not doing banking business since it is one of the obligations of financial institutions, he said.
The Gira Ubucuruzi programme was launched in February and is set to work at cell levels. Francine Havugimana, the president of the association of hotels in Rwanda and one of the founders of the programme in Muhima Sector, said they supported street vendors to form cooperatives through which they will be helped to access loans.
About 226 people, mostly charcoal vendors and vegetable sellers, will be helped to access loans to grow their businesses. The beneficiaries will have a grace period of one year before they start repayment at a 5 per cent interest rate, she said.
Individual business owners will be entitled to a maximum loan of Rwf500,000 while groups will be able to borrow up to Rwf2 million.