‘Ejo Heza’ scheme was established to support citizens in the agricultural sector, workers in small and micro enterprises, daily wage earners, domestic-helps, self-employed professionals and other informal sector non-salaried workers that are excluded from the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) pension program.
In a bid to spread and arouse interest about the benefits of saving with ‘Ejo Heza’, heads of cooperatives in the Western Province were offered training on December 12th, 2019 about the operational aspect of the scheme.
In general, cooperatives in Rwanda bring together at least 5 million citizens making 92% of people that have the potential of saving through Ejo Heza as they are not eligible for saving through RSSB.
currently, the number of Rwandans eligible for RSSB pension are only 8% given that it is strictly reserved for salaried employees who have signed contracts with their institutions.
The meeting brought together heads of agriculture, fishing, farming and service cooperatives. They concluded the meeting determined to recommend ‘Ejo Heza’ to the people they lead and support the initiatives of the Government of Rwanda to ensure dignified retirement of citizens in the informal sector.
Nsabimana Theophile, president of ‘Coopérative théicole de Gisovu-Muko’ (COTHEGIM) says they continuously recommend ‘Ejo Heza’ scheme to their cooperative members. “The scheme is now getting embraced in the region and many are willing to subscribe and be part of the revolution.”
COTHEGIM has so far subscribed 1200 members to ‘Ejo Heza’ long-term saving scheme.
Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) says that cooperative members have expressed much interest in using the saving scheme.
RCA representative in the Western Province, Hamisi Jean Damascene says that ‘Ejo Heza’ complements cooperatives agenda of improving the wellbeing of citizens especially those who own businesses.
Mugiraneza Emmanuel, RCA coordinator in the Western Province says that Ejo Heza was primarily established to support those in cooperatives. “They had no other scheme for saving and for retirement as salaried employees do.”
Ejo Heza regulations allow subscribers to save as their income permits. Those in the first and second Ubudehe category are required to save at least Rwf 15,000 per year and receive an additional Rwf 18,000 from the government.
Those in the third Ubudehe category are required to save at least Rwf 18,000 per year and receive an additional Rwf 9,000. As for those in the fourth Ubudehe category are required to save Rwf 72,000 per year with no additional funds from the government.
The money is collected monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or upfront and those who have saved with Ejo Heza will start receiving pension money once they are 55 years old. Those with large savings will be eligible to request loans to build or buy a house, pay school fees among others.
In the event one of Ejo Heza subscribers dies, their family will be compensated with Rwf 1,250,000 including a million to support the family and Rwf 250,000 for burial.
To subscribe to Ejo Heza saving scheme, you can dial *506# on Android or iOS and follow instructions.
Ejo Heza Long term Savings Scheme is currently administered by RSSB and it works with a diverse range of intermediaries spread across all Districts of Rwanda such as bank branches and agents, Umurenge SACCOs, MFIs, cooperatives, MNO agents, utility bill payment agencies and IREMBO that support citizens in education, enrolment, and subscriptions to the scheme.
The government of Rwanda has the goal of increasing saving from 10.6% to 23% in 2024.