Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) has announced a series of operations it has undertaken to eliminate errors that are hindering government scholarship loan disbursement and recovery.
In October 2015, the Government entrusted BRD the task of managing students loans and bursaries.
This followed a decision of 2007 to recover all the scholarship fee, especially the monthly stipend estimated to Rwf 80 billion that was disbursed to 70,000 students at university of Rwanda and foreign universities since 1980.
The move intends to increase access to tertiary education.
The following year (2016), the bank took over the responsibility from the Rwanda Education Board (REB).
Since government took a new direction in this scholarship policy, Rwf 17.1 billion were recovered, including Rwf5 billion by BRD in the last two years.
“Since we took over managing scholarship loans, the monthly stipend no longer delays as it used to. However, we also want to streamline recovery and make it easy for beneficiaries to pay back,” Eric Rutabana, BRD CEO told media in the Meet the Media Initiative on July 17.
Every month, BRD disburses Rwf25,000 stipend for students who qualify for it. Ubudehe categories-the social classification of Rwandans in accordance to their income determines whether a student comes from a poor family and thus, qualifies for the loan.
The debtors pay back this loan after graduating and getting a job, but recovering the money has become difficult following past mistakes.
“The lists we were handed by REB are full of errors. There is duplication of names on some debtors and lack of records on the loan on others,” Claudine Matata, in charge of students’ loan recovery at BRD, said.
Matata also said, that REB did not have a system on how to track the debtors from their working areas after graduation.
In consequence, the number on scholarship recovery are wanting.
While more than 70,000 debtors are supposed to pay back, only 13,000 have either repaid or filled their consent form.
BRD officials said they are building a friendly system that will expedite recovery.
“We are building a system which will remove all those errors which are in REB Excel documents,” Matata said.
Moreover, BRD will launch a six month campaign on July 25, to sensitize debtors to pay back. The campaign will target debtors themselves, and their employers.
In scholarship loan recovery, a debtor can choose to walk to BRD scholarship department’s office and pay once and for all.
Otherwise, employers consent to deduct 8% on the salary of debtors to recover the scholarship loan.