The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Mayors Tasked to Prioritise Job Creation

Rwamagana — The Minister of Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba has urged district mayors to embrace the idea of Hanga Umurimo (create own job) in their performance targets.

While addressing mayors, small scale business owners and bankers in Rwamagana, Kanimba said there were few programmes in the districts plans to support small scale business projects.

Hanga Umurimo, pilot project under Ministry of Trade and Industry was initiated in December 2011.

According to Kanimba, the main objective of Hanga Umurimo is to support the youth with entrepreneurship skills.

"We are here today, to make sure that Hanga Umirimo as a new programme is well conceptualised... We need to gather our efforts as stakeholders. Targets must be mainstreamed into districts' Imihigo," he said.

He emphasised that the idea of Hanga Umurimo was not against agriculture as some people misunderstood it.

"It's now twelve months since we started the programme...We are not against agriculture, but want 50% of adult Rwandans to depend on non-agricultural activities. It is an alternative that indirectly support agriculture," he said.

On the issue of banks' failure to give loans, he said that Business Development Fund (BDF) should take a lead to provide bank guarantees, adding that BDF credit worthiness cannot be overemphasised.

"There are a number of issues related to loans. There are some bad debtors; lack of viable projects, banks' scepticism in general is a big issue. But we want BDF to offer solutions particularly by offering guarantees," he added.

The maximum BDF guarantee is 75% of the money the bank offers Hanga Umurimo projects.

There are at least 10 projects in every district in the country, expected to access bank loans in the near future, contrary to earlier planned 20 projects.

The minister advised small scale project owners to always assess the viability of the projects they present before financial institutions.

"Most of the projects were rejected by the banks...we shall help them prepare business plans and enforce performance of access to finance forum in districts".

Bersheba Hakizayezu, one of the beneficiaries of Hanga umurimo, who processes cattle by products, said that the project was changing people's livelihoods.

"It is due to Hanga Umurimo project that I got Rwf15 million from Bank of Kigali...it helped me to improve on my business primarily. I make many things out of cows, hides and skins and horns," she said.

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