Mills appeals to banks to reduce collateral on loans
President John Evans Atta Mills on Friday appealed to commercial banks operating in the country, to reconsider their collateral demands in favour of small scale farmers, to boost agricultural production.
He said agriculture remained high on the government’s development agenda and entreated the commercial banks to support the sector with flexible terms of credit to small scale farmers and entrepreneurs.
President Mills made the appeal when Mr. Andy Ojei, out-going Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on him at the Osu Castle in Accra.
Emphasizing government’s “Better Ghana” agenda to create prosperity for all, President Mills assured the banks of government’s support and co-operation to improve the living standards of the people in an atmosphere of openness, transparency and honesty.
He underscored the importance of agriculture in the nation’s economy as a very high contributor to the Gross Domestic Product, employment generation and a base for agro-industry and foreign exchange.
President Mills observed that it had been difficult in most cases for small scale farmers and businesses to raise the collaterals required to enable them expand their operations.
He said the market had also been flooded with imported foods and items with negative consequences on the development of local agriculture and industry.
However, President Mills said the economy was ready to take-off for national prosperity having used the first year to stabilise inflation and other indicators of growth.
He assured Ghanaians that the journey of four years would end on a happy note as government would build on the gains achieved in the first year.
President Mills commended management of Zenith Bank for its contribution to the Ghanaian economy and good services and winning the Bank of the Year Award for 2008, although it had operated in Ghana for some few years.
He assured the Management of Zenith Bank and the banking community of government’s co-operation to support the small and medium scale enterprises.
President Mills urged them to continue to operate within the rules for continued mutual assistance and co-operation to create prosperity for all.
He expressed the hope that Management of the Bank would continue to provide quality service to its clients and wished Mr. Ojei and his successor, Mr. Daniel Asiedu, well in their endeavours.
Mr. Ojei commended government for its pragmatic interventions that had stabilised the economy.
He said Zenith Bank (Ghana) and its parent Zenith Bank (Nigeria) would continue to collaborate with the expectation that the bank would continue its quality service to become a leader in banking in Africa.
Mr. Ojei, whose four-and-a-half years duty tour of Ghana ended last December, now joins the Board of Directors of Zenith Bank.
He pledged to readily put his expertise at the disposal of his successor.