Two locally-owned banks have signed guarantee and loan agreements with the Asian Development Bank’s (A.D.B) Trade Finance Program (T.F.P).
Held at the Tanoa Tusitala Conference fale yesterday, the signing is a first for the Pacific markets.
The signing means the National Bank of Samoa and the Samoa Commercial Bank get $12millon from T.F.P. annually to support their trade activities.
A.D.B’s head of Trade and Finance, Steven Beck inked the partnership with S.C.B. General Manager, Lemalu Ray Ah Liki, N.B.S. Chief Executive Officer, Tu’u’u Amaramo Sialaoa.
The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, was also present.
Mr. Beck pointed out that in Asia trade led growth has created a lot of jobs and lifted millions of people out of poverty.
“But without sufficient finance, guarantee and loans to support trade the full potential of trade to support growth and jobs is not going to be realised,” he said.
“In its own modest way that is what this agreement today is about…working in partnership with S.C.B. and N.B.S. to provide financial resources to small and other companies in Samoa to create more growth and jobs.”
The N.B.S. C.E.O. is equally excited about the scheme. Tu’u’u said the programme will make it easier for business and individuals to conduct international trades.
“It will benefit and assist importers and exporters where it saves cost, obtain assurance that goods and services are delivered on time. It will also help with management of cash flow which means that much needed funds need not to be tied up with processes of export and import but instead the funds are made available for business.”
The C.E.O. pinpointed that the total value in export and import in Samoa is approaching the $7million mark and it continues to grow.
However, he said disappointingly is the usage of formal trade finance products remain very low and we hope to change that.
“For the bank this is an opportunity for us to be able to trade around the globe as we believe that with the partnership it opens up opportunity for us to increase our network in corresponding with banks out there.”
S.C.B. Managing Director was also optimistic. Looking forward to delivering the benefits of the programme, Lemalu said Samoa is an open economy that relies heavily on trade.
He also pointed out that S.C.B. and N.B.S. are not known internationally and the partnership will help them facilitate consignment with other countries.
Minister of Finance, Sili added that the challenge would be moving forward and using the facility to respond to the needs of the people.