The National Bank of Ethiopia(NBE) has lifted the freeze on collateralized loans.

December 1, 2021

The Ethiopian National Bank (NBE) has lifted the moratorium on collateralized lending. Regulators informed commercial banks of their decision today, roughly four months after the freeze went into effect. According to Solomon Desta, vice governor of financial institutions at the central bank, the limitation has had an impact on the economy, and loan demand has surged in recent months. “We had to select between two bad options,” Solomon explained. The central bank, according to the Vice Governor, will keep a tight eye on how loans are used. According to Solomon, banks are also required to monitor activities within their banks. Importers, coffee growers, and petroleum corporations had previously been exempted from the freeze by the central bank. All this is after the decision made weeks ago to loosen the loan freeze to the banking industry, allowing importers and edible oil producers access to asset-based collateral loans. The moratorium will exacerbate inflationary pressures, causing import prices to rise, according to central bank officials. The central bank’s action, which took effect two months ago, allows commercial banks to issue loans to edible oil producers and importers who are borrowing for the settlement of letters of credit once they have been approved. “It will aggravate inflation if approved LCs are held up and individuals can’t import,” said Dereje Zenebe, president of Zemen Bank, who welcomed the adjustment. Those who have letters of credit that have been authorized or are in the process of being accepted can apply for loans, according to the central bank. Over 14 billion dollars worth of commodities were imported last year, with capital items accounting for 33% of the total. Consumer goods and semi-finished goods each had a share of 29 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

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