The Minister of Trade and Industry, François Kanimba, launched ten Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCO) in rural sectors of Eastern Province’s Kirehe District on Friday.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that it was the right time to strengthen the people-based cooperative banks, which are locally known as Umurenge SACCO.
He said that cooperative banks in Kirehe had made history by winning the hearts of people with their service, profits, and huge deposits.
Kanimba wished the bank success in its business and hoped it would continue its services to customers.
“I must say that I am happy, the programs of the ministry have been properly implemented as shown here in Kirehe. I commend the work done by the people of this district. They have a cooperative bank in every sector. They are exemplary,” he said, attracting public applause.
The Minister said that SACCOs in the district were moving in the right direction, adding that they were self reliant.
“SACCOs in this district pay workers’ salaries well, give them other benefits, and will not lose any of their workers to other institutions. The banks were built by cooperative members who never seek help like elsewhere. This puts us in good position as we look to implement the next budget,” Kanimba said.
The Minister further remarked that people’s livelihoods in the district had improved, noting that poverty was becoming history.
“I am surprised by the way the incomes of the people have increased. Look at the houses they own, well furnished and standard,” he said.
Minister Kanimba also visited a modern rice factory that helped stabilise quality and prices for the good of the farmers.
“Rice processing done in a haphazard manner is no more. All farmers take rice to one known factory. This has helped them to get quality rice and consequently good payment,” he noted.
The district Mayor, Protais Murayire, said that the development was fully owned by the people.
“The people understood properly what the government advised them to do. This is why we witness tremendous progress in all areas. There are some challenges like debt recovery in a few banks, which will be streamlined soon,” he said.
Umurenge SACCO is a financial cooperative which operates in the country’s financial system to reach out to the most unbanked of the population at the grassroots level.