ARB Apex Bank to implement Rural and Agricultural Finance programme to help communities

The Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank Limited, Mr Eric Osei-Bonsu has said plans are far advanced for the Bank to implement its Ghana Rural and Agricultural Finance (RAFP) programme aimed at improving the livelihoods of the rural population.

He said the Programme would also cater for smallholder farmers and rural micro entrepreneurs with special focus on women and vulnerable groups.

Mr Osei-Bonsu said this in address delivered on his behalf by Mr Newton S. Mati, Manager in charge of business development of the ARB APEX Bank, at the 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Enyan Denkyira Rural Bank Limited.

He said the specific object of RAFP is to enhance the access of the rural and agricultural population to sustainable financial services through improved outreach and financial linkages of rural retail and formal financial institutions.

Mr Osei-Bonsu said some of the activities of RAFP included the support of capacity building in agricultural value chain financing, establishment of a centralised share registry management unit and a custodial service unit for the tiers two and three contributions of the new pension scheme.

He said the aim of the new programme and other interventions already in place were to help improve the institutional and operational capacity of Rural and Community Banks to make them more competitive.

He, therefore, urged the Enyan Denkyira Rural Bank to take advantage of those interventions to enhance their competitive edge.

Mr William P. Bray, Board Chairman of the Bank said the Bank’s total assets rose to GH¢2,920,641.00 in 2010 as against GH¢2,136,156.00 in 2009.

He said the total deposit increased to GH¢1,804,340.00 as against GH¢1,209,315.00, during the same period, while the stated capital grew from GH¢167,194.00 in 2009 to GH¢271,733.00 in 2010, representing a 63 per cent increase.

Mr Bray said the Bank’s profit, however, reduced from GH¢151,277.00 in 2009 to GH¢146,903.00 in 2010.

According to the Board Chairman, the reduction in profit came about as a reflection of the general economic trend in the country during the year under review, adding that customers who owed the Bank should honour their obligations to enable others also to benefit its credit schemes.

Mr Peter Light Koomson, District Chief Executive for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, said the modernization of agriculture must go with availability of loans from the Banks and other financial institutions to boost the morale of people to enter into agricultural businesses.

“It is sad to note that Banks are not interested in high risk sectors like farming where recovering of loans are very slow but rather chasing after salary workers to take personal loans because with them the recovery is guaranteed and is also a less risky venture.”

He said it was not bad to support the formal sector workers, but would be helpful to direct some of their loans to productive sectors of the economy, especially the agricultural sector to enable more people to go into farming.

Source: GNA

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