Yohannes Ayalew

Addis Ababa – National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) issued a new directive last week, ordering almost all commercial banks to begin buying saving bills, spending 27pc of the loan disbursements they have made since July 2010.

The directive was signed by Yohannes Ayalew, Chief Economist and Vice Governor of Monetary Stability at the central bank, on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. It follows the announcement by Teklewold Atnafu, governor of NBE, lifting of the lending cap that has been in place since 2009.

However, the state owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) and Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) have been exempted from purchasing the saving bills.

The bills have an annual three per cent interest and five-year maturity date; they can be used as collateral for loans or for any agreement made with domestic banks, according to the directive.

In a subsequent letter Yohannes wrote to the banks on Thursday, April 7, he instructed them to start buying these bills in the value of 27pc of their total disbursements between July 8, 2010, and February 28, 2011, sources disclosed to Fortune.

The total disbursements include the amount spent on purchasing the bills, increasing the share to 34.4pc, according to industry analysts.

Bank executives were dismayed and shocked at the news. During their meeting with Yohannes and Getahun Nana, vice governor of finance at the central bank, on Thursday, April 7, they appealed to be granted more time. Read full story on Addis Fortune

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