Minister of Food and Agriculture, Fifi Kwetey, has admonished Ghanaians and the business community to cease blaming government for the nation’s high interest rates.
He said it is pretentious to say that the end a result of government’s high borrowing is high interest rate.
[contextly_sidebar id=”SNfQrZNsSdjw0CF4qqy1ODBX3Jbk6QGq”]“It’s a very wrong way of looking at it. That is not to say that high government borrowing does not bring difficulties but to pretend that the problem as far as interest rate in Ghana is concerned has to do with high government borrowing – It’s not the truth!”
The Ministry of Trade and Industry, together with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Tuesday brought together stakeholders from the business community to discuss and find viable solutions to the high cost of credit and pricing regime in Ghana.
The participants asked the government to fix the macro-economic fundamentals to help solve the problem.
The IEA blamed the Bank of Ghana (BoG), government, commercial banks and other borrowers as being responsible for the nation’s high interest rates.
Fifi Kwetey at the forum disagreed with these submission and explained that citizen behaviour has largely contributed to the problem.
On Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday, the Agric Minister who once served as Deputy Finance Minister disclosed that some top performers in agri-business owe huge sums of money and have so far been unable to repay their debts.
According to him, there is a cultural behaviour in which “people feel that monies given to you should not be paid back because it is for the state.”
This, he said is one of the main reasons why “we find it difficult in giving credit or even the cost of credit because it factors into it.”
Kwetey argued that most banks in Ghana are unwilling to give money at low rates because they are uncertain over the ability or willingness of the customer to repay.
As a result, “they factor a lot of that into the cost which has to do with the risk that they perceive and that risk is coming from a culture that a lot of people simply don’t pay.”
The Ketu South Member of Parliament (MP) recalled that a few years ago, “there was the Business Assistant Fund which was virtually free money that was given to you – you couldn’t even pay them back so don’t always make it look as if the problem is coming from somebody and not you.”
He therefore, charged the general public to “own up to your responsibility first of all. For me, that is what I insist on – the fact that everybody must look himself in the mirror and the part which is yours, face it while asking that somebody does his.”
He quickly clarified that he is in no way suggesting that “government hasn’t gotten anything to do but when I hear you go on that way, I feel as if you are deliberately trying to excuse the lack of responsibility on the part of a segment [of Ghanaians] that needs to be responsible. I think we shouldn’t encourage that.”
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana