ECOWAS Bank Woos Private Sector




EBID PIX 2The Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development (IBID) has called on the private sector players in the Ecowas sub-region to access the bank’s low interest loans to finance their projects and programmes.

The bank said it was ready to provide direct short, medium and long term loans for private sector players in the bank’s preferred sectors which include energy, telecommunications infrastructure and hospitality.

Dr. George Agyekum Nana Donkor, Vice-President of IBID in an interview with Times Business in Lome, Togo shortly after he was sworn into office as the bank’s new Vice President said the bank was committed to supporting private sector players in member-countries to grow to reduce poverty and create jobs for the people.

EBID is a regional bank owned by the 15 West African countries. It was established in 1975 but came into operation in 1979. The main purpose of this bank is to finance development projects and programmes within the Ecowas member states.

Dr. Donkor said the main objective of the bank was to support both the public and private sectors of member-states to grow and bridge infrastructure deficit and not to make profit.

The bank, he said, charges between 6.5 percent and 12 per cent per annum on private sector projects and programmes adding that interest rates charged by IBID depend on the type of project and profitability.

“The rates are pegged at levels that ensure EBID’s financial equilibrium while offering flexible conditions to borrowers. They are reviewed periodically to reflect the bank’s financial prospects and market,” he said.

“One important thing we consider in granting loans to the private sector is that their intended projects must be located within the Ecowas sub-region,” he said.

He said, “As you are aware, infrastructure has been a big challenge to the West African countries. So the bank was set up to finance or provide funding for development of programmes and projects within the member states for both public and private sectors.”

Dr. Donkor said over the years, the bank has been committed to both private and public sectors, adding that “As of December 31, 2012, the bank had committed over 1billion USD to private and public sector projects across the Ecowas member states.”

He said the bank was also taking steps to boost its reserves which as of last year December stood at 2.3 billion dollars.

“As we speak, the bank is about sealing a transaction of about 1billion USD with Bothel Multiplex and Associates in California USA. We have a lot of projects to undertake but the resources are not forthcoming,” he said.

“We are in touch with the Indian government and other partners across Europe and the Americas. We are also in touch with Brazil and China. The underlying factor of all these efforts is to ensure that we are endowed with the necessary resources to be able to finance projects. It is only when we finance projects that we get our income or revenue,” he said.

Dr. Donkor cited in- adequate resources as the major challenge confronting the bank “As a bank, our main challenge has been resources. As you know the bank is owned by the 15 member-states and we generate our revenue from capital subscription. As of today, some of the member states still owe. So we have to go to the market and borrow at a high interest rate, especially with regard to the private sector,” he said.

“Our policy is that we grant concessionary resources to the public sector, for that matter we are always very mindful of the constraints these states have. We have to go to the market and borrow at very high rates which we give to governments and states on concessionary basis.

He said, “This has actually affected our resources. But at the end of the day, we have to fulfil our mandate whether we have the resources or not. In so doing, it really affects our resources as a bank.”

 

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