When the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) entered into an agreement with the government to manage the disbursement and recovery of the loans in 2016, it had to recover Rwf70 billion.
It has recovered just Rwf10 billion as of today.
The bank says many beneficiaries are reluctant to refund their bursaries, while the bank wants to continue the loan scheme for the future generation.
BRD supports over 30,000 students studying in Rwanda and abroad.
Currently, it targets to recover Rwf22.9 billion in the short term to further support the student loan scheme, one of the main reasons why on Thursday, BRD held a breakfast meeting with its stakeholders within various sectors including both private and public as well as various employers to push the campaign on students loan recovery.
BRD CEO, Eric Rutabana, said that the networking event was a good opportunity to boost the loans recovery awareness campaign and create ambassadors to spread the message that paying back education loans gives the opportunity other beneficiaries.
“Today’s event is important to make sure that we agree on the way forward to make the education financing sustainable and make sure that we increase the numbers of beneficiaries in the years ahead,” the CEO noted.
Hon. @MinisterRw_Edu : We are pleased to have been able to attend this important event because you all understand the efforts done by @RwandaGov in providing students loans and enhance #Rwandans skills in various fields to build their careers & support the Dvl't of their country pic.twitter.com/P6VRXSkNIX
— Dev't Bank of Rwanda, PLC. (@BRDbank) July 18, 2019
Rutabana said that the number of people who have to pay back is 70,000, and so far only 12000 have paid back their bursaries.
Among other challenges towards the loan recovery is that those who studied on government bursaries before 2008 didn’t have digital identification which makes it difficult now to identify them.
He urged all stakeholders to continue working together to get to know where those people may be so that they can also meet their obligations.
Rutabana said they are working with institutions such as the National Identification Authority (NIDA) Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), Rwanda social Security Board (RSSB) among others so that lacking information can be obtained.
The Minister of Education, Dr Eugène Mutimura, who attended the event, thanked the institutions that have already worked together to ensure that this money is refunded.
He reiterated that there is a need for collaboration with various embassies to sensitize those who are outside Rwanda about refunding the money.
“Many do not know that if they refund this money, they will be paying for their children, siblings and others in the future,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the bank recognised individuals and institutions for complying with student loans recovery.
Deputy Commissioner General of Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) DCGP Jeanne was also awarded a trophy for helping BRD to mobilize his staff to refund their loans.
She said she studied on a government bursary between 2000 and 2004 at the former National University of Rwanda (currently University of Rwanda)
After completing her Univeristy, Ujeneza proceeded with a master’s degree course abroad.
She later did a second master’s degree in Security Studies – all fully sponsored by the government through a student loan scheme.
Back at work after her studies, Ujeneza was approached by officials from BRD who informed her that it was time to start refunding the loan.
“From that moment, I took up an initiative to play ambassadorial role and mobilised our staff members to refund their loan. Today, 27 staff members at RCS are paying back the loan,” DCG Ujeneza said.
She called on all those who have been supported by the government to understand that reimbursement is to help others in need in the future.