The President of the Ghana Association of Bankers has stated that banks are not deliberately shying away from supporting small and medium scale enterprises although the current portfolio for lending and borrowing ?to the sector is rising by the day.
Mr. Simon Donoo the President of the association stated this at 33rd?Annual General Meeting of the ?association held on ?July 16 ,2014.
He said when it comes to agriculture banks support various aspects of the ?value-chain within the sector and this largely depends on the? strength of the banks.
The President stated that a holistic approach in financing agriculture is for government to come up with a coherent set of policy initiatives to streamline the sector to reduce the high risk in providing support for the sector.
However, he gave the assurance that banks are supporting some aspects of agriculture when it comes to cocoa production, processing and exports.
Other issues that came up at the press conference included listing of banks on the country?s capital market, if adequate consultations were made with the banks before the service taxes were introduced? and why banks were ?focusing more on ?lottery?/promotions than their core banking business and what short term measures can the country take to halt the fall of the cedi against major foreign currencies.
Speaking to why banks are not listing on the capital market, ?Mr. Donoo explained that although out of about 27 banks currently operating in Ghana only five are listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange and ?does not imply in any way that the banks are less committed to the development of the country?s economy.
He further explained that the Ghana Bank Association?s input was solicited by government on the establishment of ACT 870 in 2013. According to him the consumption tax in the act is not new and was in previous Act 526 of 1998.
To him although the policy was bound to affect banking operations in the country it was a legitimate means for government to expand its task net.
On the falling of the cedi against major foreign currencies the council admitted that currently there is not enough dollars in the system and that is not only affecting businesses but also putting liquidity strain on banking as well.
?Part of the solution the council proposed is to encourage people to be less dependent on foreign currencies and for government to control the fiscal and current account deficits.
A council member Mr. Daniel Asiedu explained that promotions being run by various banks are not ?lottery? but marketing strategy to attract more customers and to also reward loyal ones.
Moving forward the association pledged to continue to safeguard banking success in the country, ensure high standard of customer services and support to businesses to bring cooperation and development to the country.
Story Beatrice Torto