HCM CITY — As of the end of last year, outstanding loans in agricultural and rural areas around the country increased by 21.4 per cent from a year earlier, Nguyễn Quốc Hùng, director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s credit department, said.
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta accounted for 17.2 per cent of this, he told a recent conference on “Promoting rice production and consumption in the Mekong Delta”.
Outstanding loans to the rice industry alone went up by VNĐ29.8 trillion to VNĐ99 trillion (US$4.3 billion).
By the end of January, it reached VNĐ100 trillion, with the delta accounting for 50 per cent, up by 0.8 per cent compared to the end of 2018.
To enhance support for rice consumption, the SBV has directed lenders to continue providing adequate credit to rice producers and traders on reasonable terms and interest rates.
Banks have pledged to cut interest rates on loans to five priority areas by half a percentage point, showing the banking sector's positivity and willingness to share the difficulties of businesses and contribute to economic growth.
Following the SBV’s direction and to assist businesses and farmers, Sacombank plans to ensure adequate funds for the production, purchase, processing, and consumption of rice at appropriate interest rates and terms, with a focus on providing loans to businesses in the Mekong Delta.
Sacombank also proactively approached businesses to offer loans and speed up disbursement to companies that purchased, temporarily stockpiled, processed, and exported rice from the winter - spring crop.
The bank is also focusing on medium- and long-term lending to enterprises to fund expansion of warehouses for rice storage and processing in the south-western region.
Since the end of March, Sacombank has participated in the World Bank’s Vietnam - Sustainable Agriculture Transformation (VnSAT) project.
One of its goals is to enable businesses to invest in the production and processing of high quality rice.
Businesses eligible to borrow under this project are private enterprises and those in the process of privatisation, and customers who trade and use raw materials sourced from eight Mekong Delta provinces: An Giang, Cần Thơ, Đồng Tháp, Hậu Giang, Kiên Giang, Long An, Sóc Trăng and Tiền Giang.
The purpose of the loans is to invest in upgrading rice processing plants and equipment, including building part of or whole rice processing plants.
At the end of last year, Sacombank’s total outstanding loans topped over VNĐ15 trillion ($647.2 million), with the south-western region accounting for more than VNĐ8 trillion.
By offering loan packages and joining the World Bank's VnSAT project, Sacombank continues with its commitment to helping businesses and farmers promote agricultural development in general and rice production and processing in particular. — VNS