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We’ll Make Ghana Financial Services Hub in Africa ─ Veep

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Tuesday, pledged the Government’s commitment to institute policies and programmes that would propel the country’s vision of becoming the financial services hub for Africa.

To this end, he said, the Government would adopt a sustainable approach to financial integration by developing structures, institutions and human resources.

He said Ghana’s quest for regional financial integration would be pursued in tandem with the need for greater private sector integration.

Vice President Bawumia said this in a keynote address he delivered at the 21st National Banking Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, in Accra, on the theme: ‘‘Building a Robust and Sustainable Banking System in Ghana’’.

The event afforded stakeholders in the banking industry the opportunity to discuss the changing reforms in the local and international economy in order to make them resilient and robust in undertaking transactions, as well as being responsive to the needs of their clients.

It brought together the top echelon of the financial institutions in the country, who shared their experiences and ideas aimed at making them competitive and relevant in the changing banking sector.

The Vice President explained the Government recognised that before the country could develop and remain competitive on the global market, certain fundamental measures had to be put in place, therefore, it started rolling out digitisation programmes.

These include the National Identification System, National Property Addressing System, the implementation of the paperless ports project, e-procurement processes, digitisation of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and the digitisation of other state institutions, to promote financial inclusion, enhance efficiency and minimise corruption.

He said these were the building blocks that would improve the country’s resource mobilisation and ensure operational efficiency.

Dr Bawumia noted: ‘‘We need to have the soft infrastructure to support the banking industry and this is what is driving the national ID card, digital addressing system and other digital programmes so that we can trace customers, build a robust referencing regime and these will be fundamental in reducing interest rate and strengthening the stability of the banking system’’.

The Vice President announced that the Government would undertake the digital registration of land titles next year to boost the mortgage market.

He said the current mortgage relative to income in the country was the highest in the world and noted that, this would not help in developing the mortgage market.

He said using property to secure a loan was important to boost the economy, but there was difficulty in authenticating property owners, therefore, the digitisation of the land title registration would help in that regard.

Vice President Bawumia said the Government had recognised the high interest rate that was bedevilling the banking industry, therefore, it had instituted prudent policies to ensure sound fiscal and macroeconomic sustainability that would engender economic growth.

He said high interest rate had made it difficult for creditors to promptly pay back their loans, which was adversely affecting the liquidity of financial institutions.

He gave the assurance that, both the Government and the Central Bank were playing their respective roles of controlling and ensuring the stability of the fiscal environment.

The Vice President urged banks to develop innovative products that would rope in the informal sector of the economy to ensure financial inclusiveness.

‘‘Government is pushing for the interoperability of the payment system between the telecommunication companies and banks and hopefully by the middle of next year it will be launched,’’ he noted.

Vice President Bawumia said the Government had consolidated the macroeconomic environment with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth moving from 3.7 per cent in 2016 to 7.9 per cent as projected by the close of the year.

He added that the prudent economic policies by the Government had reduced the inflation rate, Treasury Bills, the monetary rate, from 26 per cent to 20 per cent; and inflation rate from 15.4 to 11.6 per cent respectively.

The Reverend Mrs Patricia Sappor, the President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, in her welcome address, said in view of the recent development in the banking industry, there was the need for renewed emphasis on the recapitalisation of banks to increase their fiscal capacity to transact bigger ticketing deals while mitigating the underlying risk.

She said the banking industry had a significant role to play in building a robust and resilient economy to ensure the maximisation of the shareholders’ value, protection of the depositors’ fund and generating profits.

Mrs Sappor urged stakeholders to act quickly to resolve the outstanding policy pieces and ensure financial soundness and stability of the financial industry.

She also entreated the Board of Directors of the banks to play complementary roles and ensure good corporate governance so that banks would be safe, secure and robust, in order to withstand shocks in the face of competition.

The Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana, initially called the Ghana Institute of Bankers, started in 1963 as an Association of members who have returned from studies in the United Kingdom.

It was later registered and incorporated in 1963 as the Accra Local Centre of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, United Kingdom.

It aims at providing a forum for exchange of ideas and regular interactions among members.

Source: GNA

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