Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Elsie Addo Awadzi, has tasked media practitioners to be responsible, well-informed, dispassionate and objective in their reportage – particularly on the financial sector, due its sensitive and key role in the nation’s sustenance.
According to her, the media has a fiduciary responsibility to the nation; and false reportage as a result of negligence or malice could have far-reaching consequences for investor confidence in the sector.
Delivering the opening remarks at a media sensitisation workshop jointly organised by the Bank in collaboration with associations of Special Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs), she commended the media for its labour in disseminating information – particularly during the course of reforms in the sector – but adjured that reins be put on sensational reporting.
Urging the media to remain a conduit of information from the regulator and financial institutions to customers and the investing public, she said: “We need the media to be a real partner that understands the financial sector and the regulatory framework within which it operates, in order to lead the public discourse in a dispassionate and expert manner”.
She also further charged SDIs – Savings and Loans Companies (S&L), Finance Houses (FH), Rural and Community Banks (RCB) and Microfinance Companies (MFC) – which “provide access to finance for segments of our society that would typically not be able to access financial services from commercial banks” to “refine their business models and ensure they are aligned to the policy objective for which the sector was created.
“In the case of the Savings and Loans Companies and Finance Houses Companies, the policy objective is to fill the ‘missing middle’; that is, segments such as the SME sector that the banks typically will not service.
“For Microfinance Companies and Microcredit Companies, we expect them to continue expanding access to finance for the informal sector, micro businesses, low-income households, and marginalised groups such as women entrepreneurs, youth entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and similar groups,” she added.
It was the consensus of a panel at a plenary session on the forum – made up of the President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Affail Monney; General Manager at OMNI media, Bernard Avle; and Multimedia’s Philip Osei Bonsu and George Wiafe – that while the media has a significant role to play in accurate and timely dissemination of information, the conduct of regulatory bodies and concerned institutions has a greater bearing on investor confidence.
They however expressed delight with the workshop, as well as calling for more frequent engagements with the relevant bodies to aid media practitioners in the discharge of their duty.
On his part, Executive Secretary of the Ghana Association of Savings and Loans Companies (GHASALC), Tweneboah Kodua Boakye, among other requests called for an aggressive joint campaign on financial literacy by the regulators, financial institutions and the media.
Other SDI associations present were the Association of Finance Houses (AFH) and Ghana Association of Microfinance Companies (GAMC).