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BDF Takes Measures Against Scammers

by Daniel Sabiiti
11:22 pm

Vincent Munyeshyaka, the BDF Chief Executive Officer

The Business Development Fund (BDF) has set plans to step up measures to curb down scammers who pose as employees of the fund to solicit money from persons seeking funding for their projects

Vincent Munyeshyaka, the BDF Chief Executive Officer made the revelation on March 17, 2024 during a talk show on the national radio where he was tasked to explain the delays in feedback on submitted proposals of which sometime end up with applicants having to pay a bribe.

Fred Musiime, the Executive Director of Citizen Rights and Development (CRD) an organization that works on 3 program areas: Citizen Engagement & Rights; Gender Justice and Sustainable Livelihoods stated that feedback from applicants shows that BDF selection criteria is not clear and information on the evaluation process is missing which makes it had to benefit.

“We have reported cases in some sectors where applicants are asked to pay money. Some are asked for Rwf50,000 and others asked for Rwf80,000 or Rwf100,000 and at the end the project is not approved,” Musiime said.

BDF currently works with financial institution (Banks, MFIs and Saccos) to covers between 50% and 70% of the collateral required by lending institutions to help small and medium enterprises grow and sustain their businesses.

Though BDF has offices and representatives in all 416 sector to support applicants develop business projects and apply for funding, Musiime said that some of the employees (at sector level) are not performing a good job, thus the need to step execution of duties.

Fred Musiime, the Executive Director of Citizen Rights and Development (CRD)

Munyeshyaka said that cases of scammers have been reported in the past and measures are being taken to resolve it so as to improve access to finance and providing information on such instances will be key.

For instance, Munyeshyaka revealed that the scammers sit somewhere in a community and call people (potential applicants) posing as employees of BDF, and the pretend to make a list of people to be supported but solicit bribes from such persons.

“We need the support of everyone on this matter and we will engage the youth and local leaders but this requires providing information to crack down on corruption and scammers seeking money from people with projects in need of financing,” Munyeshyaka said.

Munyeshyaka revealed that starting May this year, BDF will conduct a countrywide tour to raise awareness about the fund and how to get rid of scammers.

Over the past three years (between the year 2021-2023) BDF revealed that the fund has reached over 10,000 applicants and disbursed over Rwf30billion but there are plans to use technology to inform more and report cases of poor services and scammers.

In the past 13 years of BDF’s existence, their database shows that they have served 53,000 companies or individuals and created 146,000 jobs, which makes a small contribution to the NTS1 (National Strategy for Transformation) targets of creating 1.5million jobs annually.

In financial inclusion, Munyeshyaka said that BDF cannot take the whole credit but since 2008 where access was 48%, new research in 2020 shows that Rwanda has reached 93% with only 7% not accessing formal and informal financial services.

In order to address the issue of high interest rates on loans that deter many from seeking BDF services, the CEO said that they are still negotiating with commercial banks to have the interest rates reduced.

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