13 January 2014

Rwanda: Small Enterprises Top Rwanda Agenda

Kigali — The government has said a renewed focus will be placed on Rwanda's Small and Medium Enterprises sector (SMEs) in 2014.

The sector makes up 98% of all businesses in the country and considered a vital segment of Rwanda's economic growth.

During his annual address President Paul Kagame, asked the relevant institutions overseeing SMEs to develop easier ways for small business people to access finance.

The government plans on creating partnership with private equity firms which will see many SMEs be able to deal with the private sector hence be able to develop.

Here the government aims at increasing SME's business opportunities through easy access to finance especially from the private sector.

In this same meeting it was again agreed upon that supporting SMEs was mainly to boost domestic productivity and again help increase the tax base which the country mainly depends on.

Livingstone Nkusi, the Senior Development Officer in charge of SMEs at the Rwanda Development Board said, "We are putting new reforms and follow up plans which will lead to a linkage between SMEs and different financial institutions and therefore be able to offer incentives which will easy quick access of loans by the SMEs."

"We again want to reduce on the time spent registering a business and here we want to put it to a few hours for someone to register," he said.

Mos SMEs face the difficulty of not being able to access quick money at low cost and therefore in the 2010 SME's policy paper it recommended working with private commercial banks which will help strengthen SMEs and again increase on knowledge of SMEs.

Nkusi said. "Currently Rwanda has about 100.000 SMEs but only 25.000 are registered yet these are the most employers of the biggest population in the private sector and therefore this is why we want to reduce on time spent to get registered." Last year 2013, the government implemented the flat tax rate incentive aimed at helping SMEs stabilize their financial base hence be able to develop in the long run.

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