Veep urges Rural Banks to take advantage of digitisation programme

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia – Vice President of Ghana

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has urged rural banks in the country to take advantage and make adequate use of the digitisation system taking place in the country.

He said the National Identification Card and the introduction of the digital addressing system would give unique identity to individuals and also assist in locating every area in the country.

“We have 16.1 billion addresses in Ghana and every square by five square metre of land in Ghana has a unique address, so we will be able to bring everybody into the formal system” he emphasised.

He advised the rural banks to put operational structures such as efficient credit schemes, effective  corporate governance  practices, improved technical, managerial  and marketing strategies in place. 

Dr Bawumia said this at the 6th National Rural Banking Week Celebration at Kpong in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality of the Eastern Region on the theme “Rural Banking-Key to national industrialisation”

The Vice President indicated that the life line of many rural banks in Ghana was the deposits and savings of clients and therefore taking advantage of the digital system would ensure the needed robust macroeconomic environment to stimulate savings.  

Dr Bawumia said the current government inherited a deficit of 9.4 percent of GDP and a growth of 3.7 percent and was hopeful that by the close of the year, Ghana’s GDP would have grown from 3.7 percent to 7.8 percent with focus on the oil and agricultural sectors.

He said the small and medium scale rural and urban enterprises were a major concern to the government in their attempt to industrialise the economy and accelerate growth.

He said government was determined to expand the planting for foods and jobs programme, increase mechanisation as well as irrigation and in addition to improving road networks across many rural parts of the country to enhance agriculture production. 

The Vice President said government from next year would begin a major programme of road construction largely in agricultural areas in the country, where 1600 kilometres of roads would be put together in the next three years to help boost production.

He acknowledged the fact that with the passage of the Development Authority bill into law by parliament, it would set up three major authorities namely; Northern ,Middle belt and Coastal Development Authorities. 

“These development authorities are the vehicle through which we are going to be disbursing $ 1 million dollars to every constituency every year”, he indicated. 

The Governor of  Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison said as a regulator, their major concern was the low capital level of the rural banks ,indicating that as at August 11, this year only 58 Rural and Community Banks (RCB’s) had a paid up capital of above GHC 1 million. 

This changing dynamics in the sector he described as  low and does not promote enough factors for effective intermediation adding that “I can assure you that BOG will be flexible in working with you to strengthen the rural banks”. 

Dr Addison said in order to continue playing the critical role in supporting industrialisation it was critical for the RCBs to adopt strategies to better understand the needs of small enterprises in the rural areas.

The National President of the Association of Rural Banks Ghana, Dr Nana Akowuah Boamah said currently there were in existence 144 Rural and Community Banks with over 800 agencies spread mainly in the rural communities across the country employing over 20,000 Ghanaians. 

Dr Boamah, suggested to government and the BoG, to take a second look at the corporate tax paid by the RCBs, which was increased from 8 per cent to 25 per cent in 2016 as well as the deadline to meet the new minimum capital requirement of GHC 1million by the end of 2017.

According to Dr Boamah if nothing was done about the current requirement, it would drive away potential investors and make share capital mobilisation extremly difficult, especially for RCBs that had not been able to pay dividends to shareholders ever since they were established. 

The Konor of Manya klo Traditional Area, Nene Sakite II, urged the RCBs to concentrate on the rural economy and develop products that would serve the informal sector appropriately. 

He was of the view that rural industralisation would be key when there is ample credit availability for farmers and affordable interest rates.

Source: GNA. 

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