BY YESMAN ANTOH-
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Accra, Ghana- THE PRESIDENT of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has said the prudent measures taken by his administration and the Bank of Ghana to save and sanitize the banking sector are beginning to yield positive results.
Speaking at the formal opening of the new head office building of the Bank of Ghana, he stated that “at the end of the first quarter of 2019, the banking industry performance in total assets, total deposits and net loans and advances, all saw positive growth.”
According to the March 2019 Banking Sector Report of the Bank of Ghana, “an assessment of the banking sector’s performance during the first two months of 2019 showed a well-capitalized, profitable, liquid and stable sector with strong prospects for increased financial intermediation.”
From the above, the President stated that “it is evident that the measures “we took saved the banking industry from a very dire situation, characterized by the existence of several weakly capitalized banks, with balance sheets encumbered by a multitude of low performing loans, pursuing bad business models with poor governance practices, and largely, non-existent central bank regulation.”
These measures, he stressed, saved not only the deposits of some 1.5 million Ghanaians, their businesses and the people they employed, but also minimized job losses in the banking sector.
Describing the new head office building as an impressive piece of architecture, President Akufo-Addo thanked the bank for being an integral part of Ghana’s economic story over the last three decades, and has proven itself to be a solid bank.
The President said, his government will continue to work and build a durable financial sector, with Ghanaian banks, hopefully, leading the charge.
“We will work with financial institutions and regulators to promote digital finance and mobile money usage, and, thereby, formalize the Ghanaian economy,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “Already, mobile money penetration in Ghana is the second highest in Africa, and, with reforms to our payment system, we anticipate that Ghana will have a strong competitive edge in the region for financial innovation and access to credit.
“We are also working hard to reduce interest rates, and our efforts have yielded some modest successes.”
The President assured that the government he leads will continue to encourage domestic champions to grow, and take significant positions in key sectors of the economy.
“A careful glance of the success of CalBank fortifies my belief that, with hard work, ingenuity, innovation and creativity, we can realize the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid,” he added.
As Co-Chair of the United Nations Secretary General’s Group of Eminent Advocates on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), President Akufo-Addo was gratified by CaBank’s decision to use clean, affordable energy from the 500 Kilo Watt solar plant installed in their facility, in realization of Goal No. 7 of the SDGs.
“Again, in my capacity as the African Union Gender Champion, I am glad to learn that there are more women than men in management positions at the Bank, also in fulfilment of Goal No. 5 of the SGDs. Clearly, the Board and Management of the Bank understand the importance of the SDGs and their beneficial impact on business,” the President added.
He indicated that the formal opening of the new office building “is the start of a new exciting chapter of growth and innovation for CalBank”, and congratulated the Board Chair, Members of the Board, Managing Director, and the management and staff for bringing CalBank thus far.
BY YESMAN ANTOH, NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, BUSINESS & POLITICS, GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT