BoG unhappy with low credit extension to agriculture and SMEs


Dr Ernest Kwamina Yedu Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), has bemoaned the low credit facility extended to small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) and the agricultural sector by banks and urged financial institutions to develop innovative products for the two sectors.

He said as at September this year, the agriculture sector attracted a paltry 3.7 per cent of the GHȼ38.70 billion credit advanced in the industry, adding that, the SMEs and the agricultural sector were seriously underserved, considering their relative importance to job creation and economic growth.

He said notwithstanding the high risk in these sectors, banks should be innovative by developing credit products that were suitable from them.

Dr Addison made this known at the 21st National Banking Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Accra, on Tuesday, on the theme: ‘‘Building a Robust and Sustainable Banking System in Ghana’’.

The event afforded stakeholders in the banking industry the opportunity to discuss the changing reforms in the local and international economy in order to make them resilient and robust in undertaking transactions as well as being responsive to the needs of their clients.

It brought together the top echelon of the financial institutions in the country who shared their experiences and ideas aimed at making them competitive and relevant in the changing banking sector.

The Governor of the BoG said for the sustenance of the financial market, the Central Bank and government were playing varied roles to ensure stable macroeconomic environment, saying; ‘‘the stability of the financial system is in the public interest’’.

Dr Addison said banking was a risky business and required appropriate regulatory environment and financial infrastructure to curtail risk inherent in the sector.

He said key factors fundamental to the regulation of the banking industry includes risk management, corporate governance, internal regulations and compliance.

He said the recent quality assets review undertaken by the BoG indicated that some banks assets management were deteriorating behind credit consideration in the energy sector

These banks, he said, were asked to submit capital restoration plan to ensure that they meet minimum capital requirement to safeguard the interest of shareholders.

Dr Addison said the Central Bank was taking adequate measures to ensure that banks remained in business, and, therefore, asked universal banks to increase their minimum capital requirement from GHȼ120 million to GHȼ400 million to enable them to undertake high value transactions.

He said complying with the regulatory framework would sustain the banking sector.

On market discipline, he said, the credit appraisal of the banking industry enabled proper disclosure requirement so that market participants would secure relevant financial information to make informed decisions.

He said, the BoG had issued a guide for financial publication in line with the international financial reporting standards and some regulatory specific disclosures.

Dr Addison said universal banks were supposed to publish both audited and unaudited financial statements annually and quarterly respectively, while disclosing NPL ratios, capital adequacy ratios and even breach and liquidity reserves.

Dr Addison said to ensure stronger banks, there was need to establish robust financial infrastructure to minimise credit losses in the banking sector and assured that, the Central Bank had instituted the credit referencing and collateral registry to help profile creditors and closing regulatory gaps in the financial sector.

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