Our dear nation, Rwanda has suffered decades of captivity due to several factors including colonialism and dictatorial leaders among others.
Today, we can only talk of economic development, peace, security, sustainable growth, proper education and ICT, up to date medical facilities and Rwanda being a safe haven for tourism and investment and making the vision 2020 a success only after liberation, thanks to the former APR combatants and their political wing, RPF who championed the journey to liberation.
Both liberation and vision 2020 are long attainable journeys but one is dependant on the other. Sunday Times’ Richard NKUBITO caught up with Brig. Gen Geoffrey BYEGEKA, the DG for ZIGAMA CSS for an interview. According to Gen Byegeka, “liberation has changed mind set of Rwandans”.
Below are the excerpts;
Qn: Will you briefly introduce yourself sir?
A: I’m Brigadier General Geoffrey BYEGEKA
I’m the Director General of Zigama Credit and Saving Scheme (CSS).
Qn: What’s your take on vision 2020?
A: About vision 2020, it is always good to have a goal, an objective, a target whether you are an individual, society or an organization because when you set goals, they guide you.
If you have no guide, then you don’t know where you are going, if you don’t know where you are going, then…………
The vision 2020 helps in guiding us where Rwanda wants to be; we are able to make plans, strategies and approaches appropriate to our challenges.
The v 2020 also acts as an evaluation tool where by people are able to realize where they went wrong, adopt corrective measures and make a bigger jump.
Qn: One of the key objectives of the vision 2020 is for Rwanda to become a medium economy by year 2020, what is the role of CSS as a saving and credit cooperative in achieving this noble objective?
A: First of all, Zigama has come along way to become the biggest cooperative in Rwanda now with an asset level of 39BN in just 10 years.
We have been able to create a culture of “SAVING” in the society especially our clients. We can proudly report 14 BN of long term saving. To me, this is a significant contribution to our society and it is in line with vision 2020.
Besides the culture of saving, we are providing our members with basic financial management skills. Our clientele is largely dominated by people who in the last ten years were not acquainted with banking systems.
As you know, most of our junior soldiers didn’t know anything about banks before the establishment of Zigama.
We are also working on poverty in Rwanda through our Micro finance activities which include banking, saving and low interest loans.
We have the cheapest the services, we don’t charge commissions and we have the lowest interest rates on loans which facilitates our members to attain their goals.
Qn: Any challenges?
A: Yes, we are affected by the challenges of the current situation. There is generally lack of sufficient funds to meet the demands of developmental activities that are there in the country.
Currently, we have more demanding economic activities in our country but there are challenges of lack of enough/sufficient funds.
This challenge of imbalance between credit demands and the available funds also affects because we are part of the nation.
Qn: 4th July is a day to remember and commemorate Rwanda’s liberation day, will you shade some light on the relevance of liberation to the journey towards vision 2020?
A: The relevance between liberation and the vision 2020 is basically about mind set. This is in the sense of how people do things. Liberation has really championed the revolution on how things were done here. You can see a dynamic society with changing laws and changing attitudes. You remember how people behaved economically, shops and businesses closing for 2 hours or more in the name of lunch break, poor quality services; it was generally a closed society.
Of course this is a process, but I believe that as we approach vision 2020, surely the mind set will change with time; there has already been a drastic change.
Liberation has also brought exposure for Rwandese, the external world is coming in, Rwandese are enjoying free movement which is contrary to the former closed society as I mentioned earlier.
Qn: What is your message to the entire community as regards the vision?
A: My message is;
Let’s believe that it is our vision and get entirely convinced that we shall achieve it.
It should be looked at as something for all Rwandans, those with little and those with much are all needed for their input.
Afterall the objective of vision 2020 is to bring as many Rwandans as possible ob board.