Teklewold Atnafu, governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, was referring to the pressure that the governmental financial institution, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), has been put under due to the new housing development project financing it was mandated to accomplish by the government, at the First National Business Conference which was held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on June 27, 2013. Teklewold, in his response to a question about the possibility of the crowding out effect that the mandate that was given solely to CBE to handle the financial end of the new public housing scheme will have on private banks, also said that the investment is too huge to be handled by private banks (more than ETB 60 billion), and he didn’t think that it would be profitable for private banks to provide mortgage loans of 90 pct, that will mature after twenty years for a mere 7.5 interest rate, half the industry average. He also said no complaint had been forwarded from the private banks on the issue. Also present at the Forum was Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn along with ministers and Mulu Solomon, president of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA).
Business people at the forum from different sectors raised concerns related to corruption, retained earnings and dividend tax, impacts of huge public investments, trade and logistics and related issues. The First National Business Conference is a continuation of the Public Private Consultative Forum, which was initiated after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed, in 2010 between the then Ministry of Trade and Industry and ECCSA.