By Anton Usov
Belarus’s smaller firms will benefit from a new opportunity to develop their business thanks to an EBRD local currency loan of BRb 20 million(US$4.48million) to the country’s largest independent private bank, Minsk Transit Bank (MTBank). The funds will be on-lent to local micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME).
MTBank is one of the biggest providers of finance to SMEs and retail clients in Belarus.
The country has over 112,000 SMEs, which are responsible for almost a quarter of the country’s GDP and employ around 1.5 million people. They also contribute to 42 per cent of the country’s external trade. The EBRD loan will help make the sector more competitive and resilient.
The support and development of SMEs has been identified as one of the key priorities by the government of Belarus and the EBRD, which is offering both financial and knowledge transfer assistance to local small businesses.
The funds provided to MTBank will help limit foreign exchange-related risks for borrowers with local currency revenues and will offer loans with longer maturities to clients in Belarus. The bank will be able to further develop its SME lending portfolios.
Since the start of its operations in Belarus in 1992, the EBRD has invested almost €2.8 billion in 126 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy.