Azerbaijan expanding small business' access to soft loans

6 March 2018 16:00 (UTC+04:00)

By Rashid Shirinov

Azerbaijan’s National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support (NFES), the Center for Simplified Support to Family Businesses (ABAD) and Azer Turk Bank signed a protocol of intent for cooperation on March 6.

The signing ceremony was held at the Baku Business Center. The protocol was signed by Chairman of Executive Board at Azer Turk Bank Orkhan Huseynov, ABAD Director Rufat Elchiyev and NFES Executive Director Shirzad Abdullayev.

The document envisages NFES’ support through soft loans to the realization of investment projects of small businesses that work with ABAD. Azer Turk Bank, in turn, will act as an authorized bank through which these loans will be provided to entrepreneurs. The annual interest rate on the soft loans is 4 percent.

ABAD was created in September 2016 in order to support the active participation of citizens in the social and economic development of Azerbaijan, the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and increase of employment of the population.

During the ceremony, Abdullayev noted that NFES allocated soft loans worth 33 million manats ($19.4 million) for entrepreneurs in January-February 2018.

He also mentioned that during the first two months of this year, concessional lending was twice as much as in the same period of 2017.

The executive director further said that from 1992 to 2017, NFES granted 2.1 billion soft loans for projects worth 4.5 billion manats ($2,65 billion). As many as 34,600 entrepreneurs received these loans.

The Fund plans to allocate soft loans worth 170 million manats ($100 million) for entrepreneurs in 2018.

The National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support, created in 1992, issues loans to entrepreneurs through authorized banks and non-bank lenders. The main goal of NFES is to provide preferential loans from the state budget for small and medium business in order to develop entrepreneurship in the country. The Fund allocated loans worth 146 million manats ($86 million) to 1,953 entrepreneurs in 2017.

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Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov

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