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Banks restructured loans worth UGX 6.7 trillion due to Covid-19 -Report

Manufacturing sector received more money from banks in May 2020

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Banking institutions have since April restructured loans with clients worth 6.7 Trillion Shillings after repayments were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bank of Uganda in April 2020 granted permission to all banking institutions to provide credit relief through the restructuring of loans of both corporate and individual customers who were or would be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The objective according to the Bank of Uganda (BoU) Quarterly Financial Stability Review report was to safeguard financial stability and alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial sector and economic growth.

The benefiting sectors from the credit relief include that of trade, real estate, manufacturing and transport which were the hardest hit by the pandemic.   

The Central Bank says that the status of this measure as of the end of September 2020 indicated that all banking institutions, except one which is yet to receive any applications, have extended considerable credit relief to borrowers affected by the pandemic thus far.

“The cumulative loans that have been granted credit relief between April 2020 and end-September   2020 amount to   Shillings 6.7   trillion, which is 40  percent  of the banking sector’s loan portfolio.  The acceptance rate for applications is high at 97.4 percent,” reads part of the report.

The report also indicates that after accounting for credit relief that has matured or expired as well as new applications restructured during the month,   the stock of restructured loans as at end of  September  2020 was  Shillings 5.2  trillion,  equivalent to  31.5  percent of gross loans.

“Loans that have been restructured for a  second time increased by  60.8  percent from  Shillings 264.1 billion in  August  2020  to Shillings 424.9  billion in September   2020, and these account for   8.1 percent of all restructured loans.   This trend suggests that the financial condition of some borrowers that received credit relief remains distressed,” further reads the report.

As a  remedy for concerns regarding the potential impact of past due to restructured loans on banks’ performance,  the Central Bank has taken measures including stress tests conducted to determine the adequacy of banking institutions’ provisions and capital buffers to absorb the shock if all the past-due loans were to deteriorate.  

The report indicates that the number of loans under credit relief that are past-due by at least one   monthly   repayment increased from  Shillings 134.1billion  as  at  end  of July 2020 to Shillings 763.2 billion at end of September 2020.

The Central Bank commits to continue to engage banking institutions to  ensure  that  they  proactively  recognize  and prudently  provide  for  potential  loan  losses and  maintain  adequate  capital  and  liquidity buffers to absorb the shock.

In October 2020, Bank of Uganda embarked on a countrywide publicity campaign to enhance awareness of the credit relief program, in   order   to   ensure   that borrowers who are still distressed can apply for and access a second restructuring, which is allowed under the BoU credit relief guidelines.  

 

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