Third tranche of JICA two-step loans for SMEs approved in Myanmar

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will disburse ¥15 billion (K190 billion) in funds under an emergency two-step loan program to help small and medium size enterprise (SMEs) in Myanmar, said JICA loan project director at the Myanmar Economic Bank. This is also the third tranche of funds distributed under the program. They are preparing to approve phase 3 of the loan agreement with JICA.

JICA’s loan has a term of 40 years at an interest rate of 0.01 percent. The funds will be distributed to state-owned and local banks, which the repackage the funds into individual loans to borrowers. Under phase 1 the program, a total of K99 billion was distributed in 2018 via 10 local banks in 2018. Phase 3 was approved by parliament in August. A borrower is allowed a maximum loan of K500 million at an interest rate of 5.5pc if there is sufficient insurance coverage, or between 6pc-10pc with lower or no insurance coverage.

The loans are repayable to the banks in five years. In the past, 80pc of the loan amount had to be allocated for fixed capital purposes, while the remaining 20pc was for working capital. Due to the current COVID-19 circumstances though, borrowers are allowed to use the latest tranche of loans solely for working capital purposes. New businesses which are less than a year old and businesses with lower income levels are free to apply for the loans.

Source: Myanmar Times

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