Burundi National Bank to boost productive sectors

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Burundi Central Bank has organized, on November 8, a debate session with managing directors of commercial banks and microfinance institutions to assess the current macroeconomic situation. They have agreed upon improving the productive investments which have almost been neglected.

Jean Ciza: “Productive investments have almost been neglected.”

Jean Ciza: “Productive investments have almost been neglected.”

Jean Ciza, Governor of Burundi National Bank says there are sectors that are not financed whereas they are the ones that can boost economic growth. He says in the previous years (1980-1984), the primary sectors such as agriculture and livestock and the secondary sector such as industries and other processing sectors, were the sectors that boosted the country’s economic growth. “Following the easing of restrictions made in 1984 with structural adjustment policies, these sectors were abandoned,” he says.

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BRB Governor says the government that strongly supported these growth sectors has given up its commitment following the recommendations from donors such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “Productive investments have been almost neglected,” he says.
Mr. Ciza says commercial banks direct more of their financing to the tertiary sector. “They have forgotten productive sectors,” he says.

According to him, commercial banks with short term resources could not transform them into long and medium term employment. He also says some sectors such as agriculture and livestock are subject to climate changes and bankers cannot finance them “because they are very risky”.
Mr. Ciza says the central Bank, takes the lead in its role to ensure the price stability to see how to circumvent the problems related to these funds.

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BRB has decided to make available all instruments that can help banks and microfinance institutions so that they should finance those sectors that have been neglected.
He, however, says even operators working in this sector are afraid to take financial risks because the interest rate is very high.

The National bank expects to boost the economic growth through financing productive investments and growth-enhancing sectors via commercial banks and microfinance institutions. “We plan to set up a refinancing system that allows banks and microfinance institutions to refinance economic operators at an incentive rate and a very low rate from the central bank,” he says adding that BRB will work with commercial banks to identify the projects that can receive funding in the next few days.

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BRB will also finance the banks and microfinance institutions oriented in this sector if they can come into contact with external partners and make contract arrangements in foreign currency that the National Bank must guarantee. According to BRB Governor, the interest rate in commercial banks is estimated at 16% while it is estimated at 24% in microfinance institutions

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