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Opportunities for green finance for sustainable production
On August 23rd Tha Bar Wa, in collaboration with the Department of Small & Medium Enterprises Development, Directorate Industrial Supervision & Inspection of the Ministry of Industry, organized a workshop on green finance for SMEs businesses at SME center in Yangon.
The objective of the workshop was to provide awareness to businesses on green finance, and how Tha Bar Wa Project can help them access such finances. As of August 2019 Tha Bar Wa project partner, Saving Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) from Germany, supported our national partner banks to sign MoUs with solar power, gasifier, and wastewater companies in order to provide efficient support and services to SMEs for cleaner production practices.

Daw Aye Aye Win, Director General of Directorate Industrial Supervision & Inspection of the Ministry of Industry said, “Through the development of green loans initiated by Tha Bar Wa Project, SMEs can change their business practices smartly, without impacting the environment. According to the rules and regulations for SMEs Department, we will give emphasis to those businesses which practice recycling and apply green technologies in their industry. Hence, today we have witnessed Tha Bar Wa project is supporting the government’s policy.”

Mr. Ujjwal Pokhrel, manager of sustainable production, and Dr. Mu Mu Htay, cleaner production officer from Tha Bar Wa Project, explained the project’s brief and how it supports SMEs in the workshop. Green finance experts Mr. Ilan Wolkov and Daw Su Thet Yee from SBFIC explained and shared green lending opportunities for SMEs, including the status of the cash flow based lending and leasing that the project team is supporting different partner banks which are targeting SMEs who do not have substantial fixed assets to serve as collateral. Credits lines supported by KfW and JICA that comes with lesser bank loan interest for SMEs were also explained.
Representatives from the project partner’s banks; A Bank, CB, MAB and MCB banks shared about green finance and how to access related services. The process to get loans, necessary documents, and knowledge related to green finance were discussed during the workshop. Representatives from the SMEs loan departments of respective banks also consulted with business owners, with regards to the challenges and opportunities for green financing. The partner banks showed interest in continuing with a separate meeting session with SMEs owners.

“Basically, under the green finance category, SMEs can apply a hire purchase loan for installing solar panels in the existing business for energy saving process. Processes that reduce negative environmental impacts such as wastewater treatment system, or substituting lights and bulbs with LED technology are also eligible. They can also apply for green finance loans by investing in a wastewater treatment plant in their factory and other technologies which save fuel,” U Saw Hunter Win Ye, Head of Department, SME Banking of the A bank explained.

Officials from the Department of Small & Medium Enterprises Development, representatives from partnered banks, SMEs business owners from various industries including food & beverage (F&B) and suppliers of the green technology attended the workshop.
The challenges businesses currently face and how the banks can provide credits under green finance was discussed by the business owners.

“Actually, I didn’t know what green finance was? But after attending this workshop, I realized that this kind of system is really helping the environment and is supported by international organizations, such as WWF and SBFIC. Hence, it is really beneficial for any SMEs who are eligible for acquiring such banking services and are in need of credits to expand their businesses,” Daw Aye Thida Aung, owner of Great Nature traditional fruit juice said.

Tha Bar Wa project is funded by the European Union under the SWITCH-Asia Programme. It promotes cleaner production within the food and beverage industry by promoting wastewater treatment plants, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. It supports financial institutions to offer banking products designed specifically for cleaner production.