National Bank of Ethiopia Issued Guide to Microfinance
The National Bank of Ethiopia issued a new guideline that requires microfinance institutions or small credit and savings to increase their capital by seven times. This directive was issued to lift the country’s capital.
The guideline states that microfinance institutions must increase their paid-up capital to 75 million ETB. The National Bank of Ethiopia has given small credit and saving institutions a seven-year time limit to raise their capital to the set amount. Those who want to establish a small credit and savings institution will also need a capital of 75 million ETB.
Currently, 45 microfinance institutions are registered with the National Bank of Ethiopia. Out of the 45 small credit and saving institutions, five of them are transformed into a bank. The new regulations apply to the remaining and new institutions. Fifteen microfinance institutions have capital ranging between 10 million and 20 million ETB. On the other hand, there are institutions with a capital of more than 100 million to 500 million ETB. This new directive is to help narrow the difference between these institutions and strengthen the small credit and saving institutions with lower capital.
Ato Tesheme Yeshi, Chief Executive Officer of Misrach Microfinance Institution, shared their opinion: “Since the National Bank of Ethiopia had repeatedly gotten requests for microfinance institutions to increase their capital, the new guideline will be strictly followed.”
Ato Teshome explained that in the past years, the amount of capital needed to establish microfinance institutions was set low to encourage small credit and saving institutions. However, it has made it challenging to carry out necessary microfinance activities, which makes the new regulation important.
This new guideline will also create an opportunity for credit and saving institutions to provide better loans, which can be considered a significant advantage. According to the new guideline, the minimum capital of a small credit and saving institution is 75 million ETB, and they can now provide a loan of up to 750 thousand ETB.
Additionally, it was noted that raising capital was necessary because of the current micro-economic environment’s effect on declining money-purchasing power.
Even though the National Bank of Ethiopia’s decision is considered appropriate and helpful for the country’s economic situation, the new guideline might be threatening and challenging for microfinance institutions with no capital of 75 million ETB.
Ato Teshome advised microfinance institutions on how to increase their capital in seven years.
What can Microfinance institutions do to meet the fixed capital?
In response to this question, Ato Teshome stated that there are different options and some methods can be
- Instead of collecting annual profits, add the profits to the capital instead.
- Selling shares to foreign investors.
- Selling shares to Ethiopian investors.
However, the current situation is not suitable for implementing these suggestions as a directive prevents foreign investors from buying shares unless they are in the country. This directive must make it possible for investors to buy shares as desired. Ato Teshome has added that this directive needs to be readjusted to support small credit and saving institutions.
Ato Teshome continued by stating that although microfinance institutions play an important role in Ethiopia’s economy, more help is required for them in order to boost their capital and expand their service. About 5 million clients have received loans from microfinance institutions, which have also helped create job opportunities. As a result, these institutions are an essential part of the country’s economy.