Residents of Savannah Region demand more financial institutions


Chiefs and residents of the Savannah Region are urging the establishment of more trustworthy and dependable financial institutions to provide effective financial services.

According to the residents, the region is currently served by only two reputable financial institutions, GCB and Kintampo Rural Bank, which is insufficient. They also mentioned that the commercial bank has been primarily dominated by government workers, highlighting the need for additional financial institutions at the district level to cater for customers within the region.

These concerns were raised during a financial literacy sensitisation campaign organised by the Ministry of Finance for the informal sector in the region. The campaign aimed to enhance financial capabilities and promote responsible financial behaviour, recognising the importance of inclusive financial education to address prevailing issues in the financial sector.

Residents also pointed out that the office space of the two financial institutions is too small to accommodate customers during peak transaction periods. Additionally, the long distances required to travel for accessing services discourage some individuals in the informal sector from saving with them.

The collapse of certain financial institutions in the region has further discouraged many from saving with banks, leading them to prefer keeping their savings at home.

Yussif Baba, a farmer, expressed his frustration; stating that they have to travel long distances to access financial services for their farming business and sometimes become victims of robbery. “It is disheartening that an entire region has only one commercial bank serving all of us,” he said.

Abibata Sulemana, a trader, highlighted that many people in the region are unable to open accounts with the bank due to not having their Ghana card. “We want to save, but the only bank in the region is too far away and most of us don’t have the Ghana card required to open an account,” she explained.

In response to the grievances, Mr. Augustine Donkor, a representative from the Bank of Ghana, acknowledged the concerns raised by residents. He assured them that their appeal will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for consideration. He encouraged individuals in the informal sector not to lose hope in the financial sector, emphasising that the recent clean-up was undertaken to ensure public safety.

Mr. Robert from the Securities and Exchange Commission assured the residents that measures are in place to permit only credible and reliable financial institutions to operate in the country. He advised individuals in the informal sector to avoid engaging with fraudulent financial services promising high returns.

Madam Stella Akua Qaurtey from the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) urged the informal sector to cultivate a habit of saving for the future, noting that saved funds can provide support during old age or periods of inactivity.

Benjamin Torsah-Klu, Chief Economic Officer at the Ministry of Finance, explained that the campaign aimed to enhance the informal sector’s capacity to plan for retirement. “If you don’t invest, your money loses value due to inflation. Every investment carries some risk, so it’s important to seek financial advice before making any decisions,” he added.

He advised the general public to avoid falling prey to Ponzi schemes driven by greed and a desire for quick money. Instead, he encouraged them to save with credible institutions. Torsah-Klu announced that the campaign will be extended nationwide to ensure widespread understanding of the importance of saving.

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