HSS-MAG General Assembly took place on October 28, 2021. About 100 delegates convened at Lemigo hotel, approved a resolution to shift from tontine to SACCO (Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation).
The HSS-MAG operated as informal microfinance which had consequences, and among them were governance risks and reliance on members’ savings which was not sustainable in the long run. As a result, members were not granted long-term business and project financing to support their income-generating projects.
As of October 2021, HSS-MAG is composed of approximately 10,000 members from all public health affiliated institutions from all corners of the country.
One of HSS-MAG’s dual mission is improving the socio-economic conditions of the members and that was not being achieved properly. This is one of the many reasons that prompted the leadership of the HSS-MAG to think of better and bold ways to manage members’ savings, and shifting to SACCO was regarded as a solution. The government of Rwanda encourages informal microfinance institutions like HSS-MAG to shift to formal microfinance institutions to get government support as well as better management. The proposal of shifting to SACCO was approved by delegates at the General Assembly.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, Lt. Col. Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga reiterated the Government’s will to support the SACCO initiative. “The government wants to increase the number of capable health care professionals in our sector and support programs and projects that supplement their income. The government will inject Rwf 10 billion to support the setup of the SACCO and provision of long and short-term loans to members”.
HSS-MAG General Manager Mrs. Claudine UWAMBAYINGABIRE, shed light on the importance of shifting to SACCO as a move to help achieve the vision and mission of the HSS-MAG.
“One of HSS-MAG’s goals is the retention of health sector staff. We want to retain healthcare professionals by scaling up their standards of living while providing them with better financial services that exceed their expectations including a very attractive interest rate, as extra benefits to their income. Operating as a SACCO will help us reach that goal”, Said Mrs. UWAMBAYINGABIRE.
Changing the statute comes with a lot of benefits, and among them are receiving more advice, guidelines, and supervision from the Central Bank and Rwanda Cooperative Agency, and being able to offer more competitive services to members such as various types of loans (salary advance loan, education loan, business loan, equipment loan, etc.), deposit and withdrawal transactions. Most importantly, it means the sustainability in the long run that comes with adhering to all required rules of management as defined in the microfinance law and its applicable regulations.
Lastly, this is a move for continuity of digital transformation, speeding up projects that will benefit members, and providing better financial services in more organized, modernized, efficient, and effective ways.
Efforts will be made on sensitizing healthcare professionals to join the SACCO so as benefits will reach every staff in the health sector.
The HSS-MAG Board of Directors with management is now embarking on the process of acquiring the SACCO license.
HSS-MAG has already launched a web portal, an online platform where members can apply for loans and be able to track the statuses of their accounts.