Reforms at Rwanda central bank see 80 lose their jobs

Insiders say the regulator has on several occasions lost out to commercial banks as they poached some of the bank’s best workers

The central bank is going through a far reaching reform process after recent losses of money — through fraud — and talent to the private sector.

In March the bank reported its staff stole Rwf63 million from the depositors’ account though it cannot be specific on when the theft was carried out.

The case is before the court but a key suspect is said to be on the run.

In 2007, the bank, which has been running on an obsolete system, lost Rwf46 million through fraud, which led to sentencing of two of the bank’s staff members.

Insiders say the regulator has on several occasions lost out to commercial banks as they poached some of the bank’s best workers.

Its operations also lacked checks and balances making it easy for fraudsters to take advantage.

Now, the overhaul has led to the layoff of about 80 of the bank’s staff, in a process that John Rwangombwa, the regulator’s boss, says is aimed at removing inefficiencies within the bank.

This is in line with the bank’s goal of becoming a world class institution capable of leading the country to economic development.

The restructuring, which some officials at the bank have described as surgical, was recommended by KPMG after it carried out a detailed audit meant to help the bank achieve optimal operations.

Mr Rwangombwa said the reform is aimed at removing redundancies so as to remain with an appropriate staff level that is focused and well remunerated.

The regulator has advertised a number of vacancies for some of its key functions and it hopes to attract the best talent.

“KPMG also advised on salary restructuring. As a regulator we should not lose staff to commercial banks. We want to attract the best skills,” said Mr Rwangombwa in an interview with Rwanda Today.

The governor believes the reforms and the recently acquired automation infrastructure will help the bank close the gaps that fraudsters have taken advantage of in the past.

Other than the bank’s low salary scale, experts cite the institution’s lack of flexibility and room for innovation and creativity as another drawback in its quest to retain skilled workers.

An ex-employee of the bank, who left a few years ago to work in a commercial bank, told Rwanda Today that he doubts the regulator’s capacity to outdo commercial banks in attracting and retaining skilled workers.

Source: The East African