THE PTA Bank has this year advanced more than $200 million in trade and project finance, pushing the financial institution’s funding to Zimbabwe to $500 million cumulatively.
The bank, which celebrates its 30-year anniversary this year, recently extended a $75 million syndicated finance facility to PPC to construct a cement making factory in Sunway City, in Harare.
PTA hopes to bring on board other regional and international financiers into the project.
“The $500 million loan book represents 20 percent of the total loans approved by the bank across member countries,” Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.
Minister Chinamasa was speaking at the inauguration of the PTA Harare Regional Office yesterday.
“I also observe that the bank’s intervention in Zimbabwe cuts across all sectors of the economy, agribusiness, manufacturing, health, education, mining, ICT, financial services and hospitality,” said Minister Chinamasa.
He pleaded with the bank to release more funding towards infrastructure development which is lagging behind.
“My challenge is to address the infrastructural gaps that exist in our infrastructural framework, which include power deficit, water reticulation challenges, railways, roads and ICT. You were telling me about the $10 million fibre optic that you put in Burundi. I would love to have that kind of support,” said Minister Chinamasa.
“My biggest headache at the moment is that I do not have credit lines, access to credit for the productive sectors, agriculture, mining, tourism and manufacturing. I would welcome more lines of credit to the productive sectors at affordable interest rates,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa said the prevailing interest rates of between 12 percent and 25 percent are not viable for business.
PTA Bank president and chief executive officer Mr Admassu Tadesse said that there is need to bring down the costs of capital to make Zimbabwean businesses competitive.
The PTA Bank is close to concluding discussions with other regional countries to join the institution which the bank said would help the development of infrastructure projects across the region.
“We are also getting new shareholders, not just member states but also institutional investors. About a year-and-half ago we created Class B shares which allow us to raise funds from pension funds, from sovereign wealth funds and insurance funds in those countries that have all the surplus capital,” said Mr Tadesse.
“I’m very pleased to say that last year we had a first pension fund acquire our new Class B shares and that’s now being followed by at least two other pension funds that have expressed commitment to invest in us this year. We have also two insurance companies invest this year. So our capital is rising very quickly,” said Mr Tadesse.
PTA Bank has recorded a 30 percent growth annually in finance terms for the past six years. The bank has taken over the management of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa infrastructure fund.
It has also taken other trade finance facility which has helped the bank to be profitable. “Our portfolio is healthy, performing well and it is profitable.