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The Ethiopian Bankers’ Association (EBA) has appealed to the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) to revise its directive forcing private banks to purchase treasury bonds that make up 27 percent of their disbursed loans.
In a letter addressed to the governor of NBE Teklewold Atnafu, the association warned the directive is threatening the sustainability of the banking industry.
This comes after the meeting held last week by the Ethiopian Public Private Consultative Forum (EPPCF) which presented a study on accessing finance easily.
The association wrote the letter to the central bank this week saying that the directive is slowing business and that it should be immediately revised.
The purchasing of bonds was put in place on April 6, 2011, after NBE announced the lifting of the lending cap, which had been set since 2009.
During a presentation at the EPPC Forum, a study indicated that loans to the private sector declined by 11 percent within the last five years. The study presented says that if financial services are available and affordable they can create jobs and grow the economy but according to the study 70 percent of small and medium enterprises can’t access finance easily. Furthermore, shares of private sector loans declined from 24 percent to 13 percent between 2005 and 2010.
However the government counters that financing for the private sector is available and even has increased. Teklewold during the forum said that the total loans that private banks dispersed in 2010 was 184 billion birr but that figure has grown by 36 percent to 263 billion birr now.
Capital’s effort to talk to Addisu Haba, President of the Ethiopian Bankers’ Association was fruitless.