28 December 2017

Rwanda: Umwalimu Sacco Commits to Use ICT to Improve Service Delivery

Slow network and old ICT equipment hamper the quality of services offered by the Teacher's Saving and Credit Cooperative (Umwalimu Sacco) and there is need to fix this if the cooperative is to serve its clients efficiently.

The call was made by members of the teachers' cooperative in a general assembly that was held in Kigali on Wednesday.

Members of the cooperative that brings together teachers in primary and secondary schools said that despite progress made over the years, there are still issues of slow or lack of internet connectivity in some Saccos while officials also admitted some have old ICT equipment which needs replacing.

Jean Damascene Muvunandinda, a teacher from GS Rwingongo in Rutsiro District said that while Umwalimu Sacco has helped them improve their lives, there is need to do more to offer quality services.

"We need better service delivery as nowadays you can go to seek a service and return home without getting it due to slow network, we wish that the issue is worked on and old ICT materials be replaced so that we get better services," he said

"We also need to use Automated Teller Machine as other banks do so that we reduce the number of times we have to go to the bank," he said.

Laurence Uwambaje, the Director General of the cooperative said they are aware of the network issues and old ICT facilities adding that they are committed to work on them to offer quality services to help the bank generate more income.

Over the past year, she said the projected income was Rwf8billion but they generated Rwf9billion and the gross profit was Rwf3.2billion compared to Rwf3billion last year.

"After taxes we netted Rwf2.2billion and we hope that the income will have increased when we have the whole year's statistics. The high profit was due to the efficiency in loan management to reduce non-performing loans as well as ensuring no delays in disbursing payments," she said.

She said they plan to invest Rwf155 million towards the maintenance of Umwalimu Sacco network to boost service delivery whereby they will deploy network backup lines at all branches.

"Our priority next year is to improve service delivery to our clients... we will start with working with internet providers to improve our networks as it slows down our service delivery," she said

The teachers' cooperatives, according to the officials will also invest Rwf129 million towards replacing old equipment like generators, computers and other IT tools to improve service.

Going cashless

"We are working with MTN so that people can push their money from their accounts to their mobile money account and pay for various services without touching cash," she said.

She added that the cooperative bank also wants to solve knowledge gap to allay fears among teachers to venture into projects that can help them generate additional income to improve livelihoods.

"The issue of knowledge is the main cause as you can always get time whenever you have a target to reach, in our policy we want teachers to venture into projects to complement their salaries, we are planning to equip them with project drafting and management skills through business management as tests we did showed that such training is very important, "she said

Teacher's Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) scheme was launched in 2008 to help teachers by providing them with easy access to credit and other financial services.

Since then, Umwalimu-Sacco has disbursed over Rwf161 billion in loans.

It started with a working capital of Rwf1 billion, donated by the government for the teachers' cooperative and now has over 73,000 members both from public and private schools.

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