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EghtesadOnline: The Trade Promotion Organization of Iran has created a special integrated platform for receiving and processing loan applications from exporters who want to use export credit from the National Development Fund of Iran, head of the TPOI said.

The platform, known in Persian as Sepidar, was set up in cooperation with other export promotion bodies such as Export Guarantee Fund of Iran, Export Development Bank of Iran and Central Bank of Iran as part of a non-oil export stimulus package, Hamid Zadboum said. 

Drawing on provisions of a package approved in the last fiscal year (March 2019-20), Zadboum said the TPOI, as the main body in charge of foreign trade, launched the platform to process loan requests for rial credits to non-oil exporters by the NDFI, the sovereign wealth fund.  

“The platform will automatically process information and send the loan requests to agent banks,” he was quoted as saying by the TPOI website. 

Interested exporters should register their loan requests at www.tpo.ir from Monday. 

The support package comprises loans worth 40 trillion rials ($235 million), half of which is to be sourced from the NDFI and the remaining half from banks. 

The support package was announced last year but the government apparently was unable to make the resources available.  

NDFI support will be given to eligible exporters via designated banks over two years. According to Zadboum, the money has been deposited with four agent banks, namely the Export Development Bank of Iran, Cooperative Development Bank, Agriculture Bank of Iran and Venezuela Bi-National Bank.

The banks will lend to non-oil export companies at 14.5%. It was not clear at what rate would the NDFI lend.

 

Banks Fall Short  

Iranian banks are often criticized for not allocating sufficient funds to non-oil exporters. Afrouz Bahrami, the head of EGFI, the country’s main export credit agency, said earlier that banks and credit institutions barely allocate 2% of their funds to businesses involved in exporting goods and services. 

NDFI lends to both public and private firms in need when government revenues are down, namely during low oil prices – as is the case now. 

With new US sanctions taking toll on Iran’s oil exports, the government has recently increased borrowing from the fund for emergency spending, like natural disasters and Covid-19.      

Iran’s total non-oil foreign trade reached 169.3 million tons generating $85.1 billion in the last fiscal year that ended in March, of which $41.37 billion came from non-oil exports.

Goods were exported to almost 128 countries, including 40 European, 21 in Asia, 28 African and 12 in the Americas. The top export destinations were China with $9.04 billion, Iraq $8.9 billion and the UAE $4.5 billion.

 

Exporters Platform NDFI Credits