In response to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and individual lives, the Dormaa Area Teachers’ Co-operative Credit union (DATCCU) at Dormaa-Ahenkro in the Bono Region has rolled out a comprehensive debt-relief package for its members and customers.
The relief package include waiver of loan interest throughout the COVID-19 period, extension and freeze on loan repayment, especially for farmers and micro enterprises that are severely hit by the pandemic. The Credit Union has also improved advancement to players in pharmaceutical, food chain and for the purposes of other essentials like rent and school fees.
Until the financial climate returns to normalcy, DATCCU has however suspended loans disbursement, spanning 24 to 48 months. They include car loans, business startup loans and facilities for construction projects. This is among the meticulous measures to avoid adding on to non-performing loan (NPL) in the books of the credit union.
The Chief Executive Officer of DATCCU, Dr. James Ameyaw Yeboah, made these known in an exclusive interview with the B&FT. he said: “DATCCU has decided that we will waive the cumulative loan interest for our members throughout the period COVID-19 stay with us. We are also giving our members soft repayment terms-probably, if you’ve a remaining four months repayment period, we’ll restructure it by adding additional four months. This will help ease the financial burden on our members.”
The Teachers’ credit union, he stated, is committed to support poultry farmers within the Dormaa enclave to bounce back after battling with egg-glut for months as a result to the closure of schools and hospitality facilities, indicating that the gradually reopening of school would help resuscitate the disrupted egg market, hence the need to support the farmers to produce again.
On May 31, 2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that from June 10, schools would begin to reopen partially as the country begins to ease months of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the dreadful virus. Reopening of school will start with final year students and pupils who are scheduled for their final examinations this year.
From the backdrop of the challenges the farmers had endured in recent months, coupled with socioeconomic uncertainties in the times ahead, he advised farmers not hasten to rear birds in excess as a means to recover cost within a short period. “In as much as DATCCU is willing to offer support, the farmers must tread cautiously. What matters most now is how to bounce back with solid footing but not about keeping huge numbers amidst a wobbling market.”
DATCCU has a membership of 28,000 made up 16,000 female and 12,000 male across its nine branches. As at the first quarter of 2020, total assets of the credit union was a little over GH¢41.22 million with total loans disbursement of GH¢23.40 million to 10,968 members. Total deposits for the same period stood at GH¢37.25 million as against total income of a little over GH¢4.67 million. The surplus of DATCCU for 2020 first quarter is estimated at GH¢623,700.