By David Mugabe
THE International Finance Cooperation (IFC) has extended a $25m loan to Roofings Rolling Mills as the firm pushes to complete its three-phase project at the Namanve Industrial Park.
The loan is repayable in eight years at a much lower interest rate compared to the prevailing market rate, Sikander Lalani, the Roofings chief, said.
This is the second major funding extended to Roofings in less than two months.
In December, the steel giant signed a $64m syndicated loan with six financial institutions to finance its hot and cold rolling mill plant at the park.
Upon completion, the firm expects exports to rise to $70m, bringing the groupâ€™s total exports to $130m per annum.
IFC is the private sector lending arm of the World Bank.
It finances private sector investment, mobilises capital in the international financial markets, and provides advisory services to businesses and governments. Phillipe Prosper, the IFC director, refuted reports that for the private sector to access their funding, the Government should serve as a guarantee or provide recommendation.
â€œBeing private sector, we do not work with the Government. We fund exclusively private sector,â€ said Prosper. He said for the private sector to access funding, the projects must be sustainable businesses and financially viable and should â€œnot have any negative impact.â€
The finance minister, Syda Bbumba, who witnessed the loan signing, asked IFC to look more to financing partnerships in agro-processing and infrastructure.
â€œI want to encourage the IFC to participate in more projects, especially where we have a niche (agro-processing). Our biggest problem is perishability,â€ said Bbumba.
Lalani said the IFC support is an important endorsement of â€œour future strategic development.â€
While the Government has attempted to fix the brokendown infrastructure, the country is awaiting the passing of the public private partnership law that will support new investments in infrastructure.