Kigali’s biggest markets hike foodstuff prices
Despite the impressive performance of the agriculture sector, prices of fresh foodstuffs in major markets around Kigali have soared on account of high transport costs, a mini survey by Business Times revealed.
The survey shows that fresh food prices in Kigali’s biggest food markets of Nyabugogo, Remera and Kimironko have slightly increased in the last two months.
Some traders who spoke to Business Times, said the recent hike in fuel prices, has caused high transportation costs that are transferred to the final consumer. They also say that there was a dip in food production in the last two moths, as a result of a dry spell.
According to the survey, prices of potatoes have increased to Rwf170 per Kg in the month of October from Rwf150 at the end of June, while a kg of Matooke is selling at Rwf140 per kg, up from Rwf90.
Rice imported from Tanzanian, gained by Rwf100 per kg to Rwf700 per kg from Rwf600 in a period of about two months. Other commodities like sugar and salt, have remained relatively stable at Rwf600 and Rwf200 per kg respectively.
SMEs get Rwf4 billion credit support
The Bank of Kigali (BK), received a loan worth €5m (Rwf4b) from the European Investment Bank through the European Union to finance Rwanda’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES).
The loan comes as part of government’s promise to restore liquidity in the local banking system, by securing lines of credit.
Local banks have suffered liquidity constraints due to mismatches for financing capital investment projects.
The SMEs to benefit from the fund include those in Agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, tourism, telecommunications, mining, education and health and service industry with much emphasis on export business. Interest rates are still under discussion, and the loan has a maturity of eight years.
The deal was signed this week by Camelo A. Coccuzza, Head of Financial Sector Operations Central and East Africa from EIB and James Gatera from BK at the EU head offices.
Present also was Ambassador David McRae and the Governor of the Central Bank.
“I have no doubt this will have a catalytic role, not only for the expansion of the domestic financial markets, but will also go to assist in stimulating cross-border growth, enabling Rwanda’s integration in the East African market,” he said.
Central Bank to watch MTN’s ‘Mobile Money’ closely
The National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) will regulate the new mobile money transfer system, that will soon be introduced by MTN Rwanda, François Kanimba, Central Bank Governor said.
He said MTN has approached the Central Bank and that the bank has issued the company a license of operation after satisfying the criteria.
“It is important that this system be regulated because it is for the public interest and there is need to safeguard public interest,” explained Kanimba.
The new system, will be regulated through the laws governing the payment service providers and the payment system laws.
However, the timeframe for start of operations is not yet known, as the company is still working on the project which is expected to commence in the near future.
The new service, will help MTN subscribers transfer money from one person to another.
The service comes as a relief to millions of Rwandans, who have either had to endure high money transfer charges imposed by either banks, or money transfer institutions like Western Union.
Electrogaz to introduce water prepaid services
Having pioneered the “Electricity Pre-Payment” service commonly referred to as “Cash Power,” former Electrogaz is set to introduce a new water payment system.
The new billing service will benefit customers whose average monthly water bill is more than Rwf20, 000, a statement from electrogaz states.
Rwanda’s water and electricity provider, said yesterday that interested customers, will be required to sign an agreement with the company for a period not less than six months.
“For the average person, settlement of utility bills is never hustle-free. We always remember to deal with utility bills when they are due, sometimes after a disconnection.
The inconvenience can sometimes be a mere nuisance but at times, a major hustle,” the statement reads in part.
MTN targets 2 million subscribers by end of year
MTN Rwanda, the country’s first and largest mobile phone operator by market share, expects to hit 2 million customers by the end of the year.
According to Yvonne Makolo, Senior Marketing Executive of the Nyarutarama based Telecom Company, MTN-Rwanda is optimistic that it would achieve this, by providing good and quality services to their clients.
MTN-Rwanda boasts of the widest network coverage in the country with 1.7 million subscribers, according to Makolo.
However, contrary to this figure the firm’s parent company, MTN Group, said in its latest reports that the subscriber base is about 1.2 million subscribers.
“Our plan is to reach the target which we set in our effort to being the leading telecom operators in the country,” said Makolo.
However, with the entry of another player Tigo, which will soon launch operations as third national operator MTN Rwanda no longer enjoys the monopoly it used to.