Rwanda: Teachers to Receive Salaries via Mobile Money

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In a move aimed at paying teachers on time, the Teachers' Credit and Savings Cooperative - Umwalimu SACCO - will start mobile money transfer services to pay members who are in areas where the cooperative has no branches.

The money transfer service is currently offered by two telecommunication companies, MTN and Tigo.

Jean Marie Vianney Nzagahimana, Chairman Board of Directors of the cooperative, announced this yesterday in an interview.

The move follows several complaints from teachers in districts where there are no branches that they faced a problem of having to trek long distances to access their salaries, which they claimed was costly and time consuming.

"We knew about the problem and that's why we came up with this system to further address teachers' needs. We cannot do it at once but we will be addressing them beginning with priority areas," Nzagahimana said.

Currently, the cooperative has only 16 branches countrywide, with about 57, 000 members.

The money transfer system, Nzagahimana said, will be implemented in partnership with a South African company, MFS. Teachers will also be able to get overdrafts through the same process.

Meanwhile the cooperative unveiled its financial budget for the next fiscal year worth Rwf 11.7 billion.

The budget which was unveiled during the cooperative's general assembly held at ETO Muhima in Nyarugenge District, indicated that Rwf 7.8 billion would be allocated to loans to help teachers start small income generating activities.

The cooperative has so far spent about Rwf 10 billion on about 37,000 of its members since it was established in 2008 to empower teachers and help improve their living standards.

Recently, the cooperative increased the amount of loan that can be accessed by a member to Rwf 15m, payable in five years, up from Rwf 3m.

Only Rwf750m of the budget will be provided by the government. Umwalimu SACCO, whose assets increased by 143.3% to Rwf 7.3 billion in 2010 from Rwf3bn the previous year is expected to get profits of up to Rwf 318m from money lending.

Nzagahimana also explained that in conjunction with a German savings bank foundation, there will also carry out a training of trainers in savings which is expected to be extended to the youth via teachers.

He noted that with the help of the Netherlands Company, Phillips, the teachers will also start getting solar panels to light up their homes.

"We don't want them to complain that they worked for few hours because they have no light. Things are moving fast forward and we want them to also move along with the changes," he said.