President of the Association of Rural Banks-Ghana, Dickson Osei-Asibey has said the local economic meltdown is adversely affecting rural banking.
According to him, rural banks are repositioning to mitigate the negative effects of the country’s economic instability.
“This economic instability is affecting all businesses and rural banking is no exception: our constraints the main one is capital, the liquidity of the rural banks.”
[contextly_sidebar id=”thcMRH1ec458BcLT22yT5THMvjPIijeh”]He adds that rural banks contribution to national growth and development cannot be undervalued for which reason every effort must be made to sustain the rural banking sector.
Dickson Osei-Asibey exclusively spoke to Citi Business News in Tamale on the occasion of the 18th Biennial General Meeting of the Association of Rural Banks-Ghana.
He said there were over 130 registered rural and community banks across the country which serve as vehicles for financial intermediation aimed at transforming the living standards of rural dwellers.
“We have over 130 rural and community banks in operation throughout the country and the entire Ghanaian community benefit from services offered by the agency network of some of these banks.”
He explained the theme of the 18th Biennial General Meeting saying, “The theme for the 18th Biennial General Meeting is most appropriate as it offers us the opportunity to examine critically the achievements of the rural and community banks viz-a-viz the concept as conceived by Bank of Ghana in the mid 1970s.”
He suggested the need for government to start disbursing the District Assemblies Common Fund and other statutory funds through rural banks.
He bemoaned, “The government channels the District Assemblies Common Fund through banks that are already endowed.”
He asked, “Why can’t the government take the District Assemblies Common Fund to the rural banks? They will use this money to support the district assemblies and the local people so that this issue of capital will not be affecting us.”
Dickson Osei-Asibey called for partnership between the Ministries, Departments, Agencies and other statutory bodies if government indeed meant to adopt Public Private Partnership as the panacea to accelerate national growth and development.
“If we really want to grow our economy as a nation I think that the National Development Planning Commission, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the Ministry of Roads and Highways, Education and the Health Ministries will have to partner with rural banks.”
According to him, the community and rural banks were there to boost national growth and development.
He thus tasked management of rural and community banks to be creative and innovative to serve as effective link to the informal system of the rural financial services industry to better pursue their goals.
Dickson Osei-Asibey maintained that the national economy’s survival depended on the viability of rural and community banks.
“In the national front, rural banking has highly contributed to the improvement of the national economy over the period close to 40 years of its existence.”
He disclosed, “In the 2013 financial year, the RCBs mobilized GHC1, 358.55 million in the form of deposits and gave out loans to the tune of GHC 764, 29 million.”
On the numerical strength of Rural and Community Banks workforce in relation to private sector employment, he revealed, “The over 130 RCBs with over 600 branches and agencies employed close to 7000 persons across the country and their dependants.”
Corporate Social Responsibility
Dickson Osei-Asibey said the rural and community Banks have continually provided scholarship to needy but brilliant pupils, built classroom blocks, health centres, provision of electricity and pipe-borne water to underserved communities.
“In keeping with a sense of social responsibility, rural and community banks have been making significant contribution to the development of their catchment areas by contributing to the construction of schools, health centres, provision of electricity and pipe-borne water and award of scholarships to needy but brilliant students and has affected every aspect of the lives of Ghanaians.”
As part of activities marking the 18th Biennial General Meeting, he said 16 deserving banks and personalities were to be awarded at the association’s maiden rural/community banks excellence awards night.
He spelt out the categories as most promising bank, most compliant bank, most profitable bank, deposit growth, loan financing, overall best rural and community bank and best rural and community banks in each region.
Dickson Osei-Asibey said the awards among other considerations were meant to raise the standard of rural banking practices, promote the visibility and corporate reputation of rural and community banks, stimulate competition and growth of RCBs in the banking industry and ensure and improve quality of products and services being offered by the rural and community banks.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana