22 January 2013

Rwanda: Govt Job Scheme Benefits Over 20,000

A Ministry of Public Service and Labour job initiative has so far benefited 23,402 across the country.

The scheme, dubbed 'Kuremera', was launched last year to create jobs through cooperatives as the easiest way to access loans from financial institutions.

Anna Mugabo, the director-general for Labour and Employment at the ministry, said among other measures, the government has established markets through which people are carrying out economic activities to fight poverty.

"We have so far established nine markets within Kigali and this has effectively enabled people who previously operated on the streets to secure conducive working space," said Mugabo.

She said with the permanent places of operation, government is linking the peasant to get start up capital, while others are boosting their businesses.

"Among others, we are this year targeting more beneficiaries through constructing more markets; something we believe will encourage the population to work and improve their lives," she said.

At least 125,000 people join the labour market annually, according to the ministry, but not all get the chance of getting employed; the main reason the government started the project to fight unemployment, especially among the youth.

Kuremera caters for all groups or classes of people; educated, semi-skilled and the people living with disabilities.

Officials said the programme is giving financial support for buying equipment that are being used to start work, thereby encouraging and promoting small and medium enterprises.

The programme started in Kigali and it has spread across the country. Former street vendors in Kigali City, who have benefited from the scheme and currently operating in an association called Igitekerezo in Gatsata, Gasabo district say it saved them from the every day running battles with city authorities.

Speaking during the launch of Kuremera last year, Anastase Murekezi, the Public Service and Labour minister, said the programme would solve the challenge youth face in accessing finance even when they have bankable projects through Hanga Umurimo project, another government programme to encourage youth to become job creators instead of job seekers.

Meanwhile, Albert Bizimana a specialist in Hanga Umurimo project, said of the 6,000 target beneficiaries, 470 have already submitted their applications, while 250 have qualified to benefit with the remaining number still under scrutiny.

The Hanga Umurimo programme is also in line with creating at least 200,000 new jobs annually through banks facilitating the selected beneficiaries.

Bank of Kigali has funded 250 projects worth Rwf1.8b of the of 472 loan applications worth over Rwf3b it has received.

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