Local firms challenged on credit rating

Local corporate firms must embrace the culture of credit rating if they are to increase their ability to raise investment capital. Experts say the move would help reduce the cost of funding, ease access to credit, and improved transparency and accountability within Rwanda’s corporate firms.
Bk is the only company in Rwanda with a credit rating. The New Times / File.
Bk is the only company in Rwanda with a credit rating. The New Times / File.

Local corporate firms must embrace the culture of credit rating if they are to increase their ability to raise investment capital. Experts say the move would help reduce the cost of funding, ease access to credit, and improved transparency and accountability within Rwanda’s corporate firms.

Credit rating is the process auditing the company to evaluate and assess its credit worthiness.

“It (credit rating) encourages competition and allows borrowers to access credit at a better (interest) rate,” Robert Mathue CEO, CMA, said last week during a workshop on credit rating, asset-backed securities and structured finance.

He said the workshop, which attracted Chief Executive Officers, Managing Directors and representatives from corporate firms across the country, is in line with the development of capital markets in Rwanda.

Mathu said being judged by an independent firm improves transparency within the company and financiers will compete for deposits thus providing better choice.

Bank of Kigali is the only local company that has a credit rating. The lender was given a long-term rating of A+ and a short term credit rating at A1by South African based rating firm, Global Credit Rating Co.

“Credit rating is crucial to finance the economy. There is a perception here that it’s meant for government to measure the worthiness of the economy,” Amb. Claver Gatete, the central bank Governor said. 

Gatete underscored that rated companies improve their trust and reputation which in return gives the assurance and confidence to the lenders.

Particularly, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which have less access to financing, were urged to embrace the service because they (SMEs) are classified by lenders as very risky borrowers.

Sam Omukoko, the Managing Director of Metropol Corporation Ltd of Nairobi, the third world has a lot of cash but the challenge is to transform that cash into long term savings to finance development projects.

“The key question is how to develop the savings, make them tradable for long term, allow the saver get high rate return and grow the capital markets,” he said.

Eyal Shevel, the Head of Corporate Ratings-Africa in the Global Credit Ratings in South Africa said last year that 60 African companies were rated and are now recording a pool of investments.

“Africa is the centre of attraction today in terms of investments because of its strong GDP growth and regulators are increasingly demanding for credit ratings,” he said.

He said that investors need to know more about specific companies especially insurance, banks and pensions.

Participants were also introduced to other sophisticated products like asset-backed securities and structured finance that are used in the modern money market and capital markets.

Mathue said soon CMA will publish the asset backed securities regulation, part of the regulation to manage and regulate the operations of the capital market in Rwanda.

 

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