In a bold move to promote a savings culture in Rwanda, the Ministry of Finance has introduced a special unit to design saving products suitable for different classes of Rwandans.
The scope of products seeks to improve the economic and social well-being of the people by creating ways to save and support the growth of their incomes.
The products are designed for the youth, Diaspora and women.
The women Bonus saving scheme is being designed purposely for low income women to access banking services.
Official in the ministry of finance say that low income earning women will receive bonuses on their bank accounts after making a minimum opening balance of Rwf100.
At the end of the year, government will pay a five percent bonus on the account of every woman with an average balance Rwf2000.
After one year, the scheme also allows the depositor to take up a loan of up to 80 percent of the accumulated value of the scheme at an interest rate of two percent.
“There have been limited savings products, a consultant will be hired to study them and the ministry will influence commercial banks to develop them,” said Ngarame Francois Xavier Executive Secretary of Financial Sector Development Programme in the Ministry of Finance.
In an exclusive interview, Ngarambe said government’s new target is to increase the Gross National Savings (GNS) to 23 percent by 2012, surpassing 18 percent benchmark considered in the Economic development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). Currently Rwanda’s GNS stands at 14 percent.
Ngarambe said that the overall savings trend has been down, as many Rwandans think that saving is meant for people with high income.
Government is also encouraging the formation of at least one Savings and Credit Co-operative (SACCO) in every sector (Umurenge).
It’s said that SACCOs will mobilise10 percent of rural production in savings, which would stand at Rfw60 billion by the end of this year.
According to officials, already, a success story was registered in Nyamirama sector in Kayonza district where locals have been saving Rwf1000 per individual every week.
In the period of one year, Nyamirama locals are now enjoying collective investments of two trucks.
Another pillar aimed at increasing the savings level in the country is the private pension and Collective Investment Schemes (CIS).
“Collective saving schemes are beneficial, especially to low income earners because it helps them access different services that would not be possible for individuals,” Ngarambe said.
Government intends to create awareness on the importance of saving to ensure every Rwandan has access to normal financial services.
A national education campaign programs will commence through workshops, radio talk shows and different publications to have 100 percent Rwandans access normal financial services.
Currently, only 11 percent of Rwandans have access to commercial banking services, and 20 percent have access to micro-finance institutions services.