The large volume of obligations is forcing the Ministry of Agriculture to tighten the conditions for issuing preferential investment loans. The ministry proposes to reduce the subsidized interest rate on such loans from the current 90-100% to 80%. Participants in the agricultural market are confident that the initiative will disrupt the economic models of enterprises, threaten to disrupt investment projects and increase food prices.
The Ministry of Agriculture has published a draft resolution, which provides for a reduction in the amount of subsidies for the interest rate on concessional investment loans from the current 1-90% to 100% from September 80. As stated in the explanatory note to the document, the measure is necessary due to the large volume of obligations assumed and the prolongation of previously concluded loans against the background of a decrease in budgetary allocations for this year from 90,88 billion rubles. up to 80,22 billion rubles. Discussion of the document will last until July 27.
According to the data, the banks expressed their sharp dissatisfaction with the initiative when discussing the project at the site of the Ministry of Agriculture on July 14. It was noted there that a change in the interest rate under existing agreements threatens to default to a number of borrowers, and some banks warned about stopping the issuance of new loans. VTB, whose portfolio of investment loans for the agro-industrial complex exceeds 127 billion rubles, assured that the current conditions of the program do not provide for the possibility of increasing the rate. The best option would be to introduce new rules only for new agreements, since amendments to existing agreements may have a negative impact on the development of agriculture, say VTB. Rosselkhozbank and Gazprombank did not answer questions, Sberbank declined to comment.
The industry unions are confident that banks will find a way to shift the additional burden on borrowers. The head of the National Meat Association, Sergei Yushin, says that this threatens the industry participants with possible annual costs in the range of 200 million rubles. up to 1 billion rubles. in year. According to him, against the background of growth in the cost of production, enterprises may freeze investment projects, which means that in a few years the industry will stagnate. Director of the Fruit and Vegetable Union Mikhail Glushkov says that only producers of greenhouse vegetables have such loans - 300 billion rubles, and the proposal of the Ministry of Agriculture may increase the cost of servicing them by 2 billion rubles. in year. Operating costs are already growing, only in 2020 the profitability of greenhouse vegetable growing has decreased by half, and additional costs threaten the bankruptcy of enterprises, he points out.
The Ministry of Agriculture assured that the terms of lending, in particular the interest rate, on existing loans will not change. But, according to the data, with a decrease in subsidizing rates to 80% for contracts concluded after September 1, the Ministry of Agriculture may not have enough funds for new investment projects. One of the banks considers it possible to refuse to support new projects where high self-sufficiency has been achieved or there is good profitability, without changing the conditions under existing contracts. Sergei Yushin agrees that it is possible to reduce subsidies for future loans and then investors will make decisions about participation in new projects with pre-known conditions.