Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Ghanaians want better financial services

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

Stakeholders in Ghana’s financial sector are advocating the need for major shift in mindset, in order to reach out to the huge percentage of Ghanaians who remain unbanked,

Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stressed that, financial inclusion and the formalisation of the economy remained a key vision that was dear to the heart of government.

“We have been pursuing the agenda of greater financial inclusion and formalisation of the economy in many spheres and the government would continue to provide the soft infrastructure needed to ensure that financial inclusion was deepened in the country.

“Government will, therefore, give the needed support to help the sector perform this critical role of mobilising savings and channeling funds into households, micro, small and medium-size enterprises which need these funds to expand their businesses and to create jobs,” he added.

The shift in mindset must also embrace the positives inherent in the use of the technology in order to leapfrog the technology gap and accelerate Government’s economic transformation agenda.

Vice President Bawumia stressed that, “We really need a paradigm shift in Ghana in the area of financial inclusion because what is clear is that we have many financial institutions but we still have a very large segment of our population unbanked.”

“When you look at the history of financial sector development in the more advanced countries it is very clear that financial inclusion was very critical in many countries for being able to mobilise savings and therefore lower interest rates. If you go back, whether you are looking at the 18th century’s Friendly Society Acts in Europe or others, this was a key matter and for us as a country we have largely seen a lot of financial institutions but the depth in terms of coverage is not there.

“This is why we really need this paradigm shift and the paradigm shift is going to come in terms of mind set but also to use technology that allows us to reach the unbanked in the population.”

Also, Mr. Ahensah Asum-Kwarteng, the acting Country Director of Plan Ghana International, has called for the banks’ to bring down the cost of borrowing to aid businesses to thrive.

He said the current high-interest charges on loans were not helpful to growing businesses – to expand and create jobs for the people, particularly, the youth.

He was speaking at a day’s “market scan assessment” workshop held at Abesim, near Sunyani.

It was organized by Plan Ghana with support from the European Union (EU) as part of the Green Skills for Ghana Project designed to provide employment opportunities for the young people.

The three-year project funded by the EU has targeted to create livelihood opportunities for about 6,000 youth and women through the promotion of local environmentally sustainable businesses.

Subsequently, Dr Bawumia has lauded the role played by Financial Technology (Fintech) companies in the Akufo-Addo government’s digitisation agenda, indicating that it represented a significant paradigm shift in the philosophy guiding national development, which has resulted in the implementation of a number of innovations including a paperless port system, a Digital Property Address System, a national identification programme and the recently launched mobile money interoperability system, as well as the upcoming digitisation of land records.

While commending the board, staff and management of Bond Savings and Loans for the achievements chalked over the last 10years of existence, Vice President Bawumia challenged them to continue with their mission to expand the reach of financial services through technology to help include the financially excluded as well as bring a larger part of the population into the formal sector.

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