Address high lending rates by commercial banks – President to Bank of Ghana

President Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to bridge the gap between its monetary policy rate and the lending rates of  commercial banks to enhance the rapid growth of the country.

He said it was not right that the central bank’s monetary policy rate stood at 13.5 per cent whilst the commercial banks lent to the private sector at 21 per cent or more, adding that it stifled the competitiveness of the sector, which was the growth engine of the economy.

“Interrogate the issue of high-interest rates in Ghana, and how the problem should be addressed to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector in the country…I believe the Bank of Ghana is best placed to lead this process of reflection and action.

“This is a gap we have to bridge if we are to realise the vision of a Ghana whose economy is globally competitive,” he said when he swore into office the newly constituted 13-member board of the Central Bank at the Jubilee House, Accra, on Friday.

The board, chaired by the Governor of the BoG, Dr. Ernest Addison, includes Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor, Miss Elsie Addo Awadzi, Second Deputy Governor, Charles Kofi Adu Boahen, Minister of State, Finance Ministry, and Prof. Eric Osei Asibey.

The others are Dr Kwame Owusu- Nyantekyi, Dr Samuel Nii-Noi Ashong, Mr Jude Kofi Bucknor, Mr Joseph Blignam Alhassan, Mr Andrew Adinorte Boye-Doe, Madam Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh, Mrs Comfort Ocran and Madam Regina Ohene- Darko Adutwum.

The President told the Board that the Central Bank had over the past four years distinguished itself and had discharged its duties impeccably, proven to be a sound banker to the government, and safe custodian of the nation’s money.

He was encouraged by the many corporate governance measures that have been put in place by the BoG to mitigate against future bank failures and “ensure that we have a strong banking sector that can drive the transformation agenda of the government.”

President  Akufo-Addo also commended the recent policy measures introduced by the BoG, saying they were in line with the overall objective of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid.

He noted that the recently introduced domestic gold purchasing initiative of the BoG was a game-changer that would help transform the country’s domestic gold production value chain, and “ will allow us to add value to our gold and establish transparency in the smallscale gold mining industry in Ghana.”

The President praised the Central Bank’s leading role in the digitalization of the economy and said the recent announcement of the pilot central bank-backed digital currency, the ECD, which would completely transform the architecture of Ghana’s payment systems would deepen financial inclusion and enhance access to credit for small and medium scale enterprise.

He also applauded the bank for its initiative and partnership with the monitory authorities of Singapore and Ghana’s finance ministry to develop a network of digital platforms to serve as global public infrastructure to boost the growth of SME’s in the two countries.

“All of these have reestablished the Bank of Ghana as an institution of excellence, reflecting in the international recognition of the bank,” he said.

The President charged the governing board to leverage the vast experience of members to ensure the formulation of policies necessary for the achievement of the Bank’s objectives.

“I am counting on the board with its diverse experience, talents and skills to support the agenda of the bank and help formulate policies necessary for the achievement of its objectives. This is a charge I am confident you would keep,” he said.

In his remarks, Dr Addison pledged that the board would pursue prudent policies to consolidate the gains made in the last four years.

“Given the rich and diverse background of the board, there is no doubt in my mind that together we can build on the solid foundation that has been laid by our predecessors and take this institution to even greater heights, ” he said.

Source: GNA

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