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Bad loans fall amid Covid-19: Rwanda

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Bad loans linked to Rwandan commercial banks have been on the decrease in the first quarter of 2020 as restructuring shielded hundreds of debtors with existing loans from the adverse effects of COVID-19, data from the Central Bank suggests.

Official reports obtained by the African Press Agency (APA) on Wednesday, 24 June 2020 show that all commercial banks in the East African country had restructured 83,133 loans worth Rwf 647.3 billion (about $708.7 million) as at the end of April this year.

This represents twenty-eight-point-four percent of commercial banks’ total loan portfolio, the central bank said.

The National Bank of Rwanda did not issue any guidelines on how banks should restructure their clients’ loans, but it encouraged banks to restructure loans for clients impacted by Covid-19, which would be handled case by case.

“Banks are therefore not obliged to restructure all loans, but assess case by case,” the statement from the central bank said.

Banks have become flexible to restructure their clients’ loans, allowing them the flexibility of paying at a later date as business activity slowly recovers from the virus, it said.

Reports by the World Bank indicate that prior to the Covid-19, Rwanda was in the middle of an economic boom pandemic to reach middle-income status by 2020 with an annual per capita income of $ 1,240 USD per person.

Rwanda’s strong economic growth which exceeded ten percent in 2019 was accompanied by substantial improvements in living standards, with a two-thirds drop in child mortality and near-universal primary school enrollment, it said.

The East African country now aspires to reach Middle Income Country (MIC) status by 2035 and High-Income Country (HIC) status by 2050.

– APA

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