Dubious operations of microfinance firms linked to central bank’s regulations

bank-of-ghanaProfessor Stephen Addai, former Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Professional Studies (GIMPA) on Wednesday expressed displeasure about Bank of Ghana’s regulation concerning operation of micro finance.

He noted that BoG’s requirement that a minimum capital of GH¢100,000.00 or GH¢60,000.00 be deposited by microfinance companies is not very appropriate.

Prof Addai, who was speaking during the inauguration of the Ghana Chamber of Business and Industries (GCBI) in Accra, noted that such directives a compel microfinance institutions in villages to operate underground and dubiously as they might not have the basic requirement.

“It’s interesting to note that one would not need even GH¢10,000.00 to operate a microfinance institution in a village like ‘Hwiremoase,’ but the BoG’s genuine attempt to weed out unscrupulous microfinance companies is also driving many small scale operators to work secretly and also charge more interest,” he said.

He cited the neglect of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as one of the major reasons Ghana was not experiencing the necessary growth despite the production of numerous natural resources.

Prof Addai said one of the fastest ways Ghana could grow its economy, increase employment, and provide sustainable livelihood is to stimulate the SME sector and make it a main stream target of government policies and programmes.

“In fact Government relegates SME issues on the back burner evidenced by under resourced, poorly managed and corrupt prone units under the Ministry of Trade and Industries,” he said.

He said Ghana ran on the backs of SMEs adding that just about 10 per cent of Ghanaians had anything to do with big banks and savings and loans companies as they deal basically with money lenders or microfinance companies.

Prof Addai who is also a Professor of Economic and Leadership at the Pentecost University, expressed shock at Government’s inability to appoint someone to handle issues relating to SMEs due to their contribution to national growth.

He urged Government not to bureaucratise SME issues, but rather empower institutions like Empretec and Business Departments of Polytechnics to handle them with ease on its behalf.

Registration of SMEs should be so simplified that it could be done at the district level as they would only be paying local taxes and not national ones, he said.

Prof Addai urged operators of SMEs to endeavour to undertake feasibility studies before they start businesses to reduce risks, and keep records to know how their businesses fair.

Mr Bernard Brock Nii Arku Yartey, Founder, GCBI said the Chamber, which was incorporated in January 201, is a non-profit organisation with members who are Ghanaians and foreign companies doing business in Ghana.

“GCBI is aimed at providing members and SMEs a unique source of contacts and updated information about businesses in Ghana.

“The loan unit is the main avenue meant for the opening of 92 branches across the country,” he added.

Mr Arku Yartey said GCBI is made up of board of directors, advisory council, council of elders, research team, members and units that would help steer the affairs of the organisation and be a bedrock for SME’s in their daily activities.

Madam Sylvia Lutterodt, Secretary General of UNESCO who officially launched GCBI said collaboration with the Chamber is due to the education platform it offers Ghanaians.

She said the launch signified GCBI readiness to help solve problems of SME’s and all unemployed in the country.

Source: GNA

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