AGI To Establish Bank For Members

FRIUTS PROCESSINGThe Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), a voluntary business association with membership strength of about 1,400, is to establish a bank to provide financial resources for its members.

To be called AGI Small and Medium Enterprise (SME)-Industrial Bank, it would sought to address, in particular, the financial challenges facing some of its members, especially those in the SME sector.

Newly-elected President of the AGI, James Asare-Adjei disclosed these at the Association’s investiture dinner held on Friday for its new Executive Council members.

The 14-member Executive Council, which has representation from all the ten regions, is to serve the association for two years.

Mr. Asare-Adjei was hopeful that the AGI bank would go a long way to enable members of the Association to overcome the difficulty in accessing credit, especially those in the SME sector.

”Apart from their difficulty in accessing credit, the high cost of credit also remains a big challenge to them,” he said.

Mr Asare-Adjei explained that the high cost of credit made it difficult for the members to compete with their foreign counterparts, who have access to cheap capital, on the international market.

”The AGI SME-Industrial Bank will provide long-term soft loans to members to finance their operations as well as expand their businesses,” he said.

Mr Asare-Adjei said the AGI would rely on the EDAIF as well as multi-lateral donors and international organisations to raise seed capital of GH¢100 millions to start the project.

”The government’s  GH¢50 million Industrial Development  Fund, announced in the 2014 budget to support SMEs, can be a veritable source to also raise money to establish the bank,” he added.

Mr Asare-Adjei also appealed to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Bank of Ghana to support the AGI to achieve its dream.

He said under his leadership, AGI would establish Competency-Based Institute across the country to train the needed manpower for industries in the country.

Mr Asare-Adjei expressed worry about the over liberalisation of the economy, saying the government’s trade liberalisation policy had led to the influx of all sorts of foreign raw materials and products into the country, displacing quality made-in-Ghana products.

He appealed the government to re-assess its trade liberalisation policy and introduce countervailing measures to regulate imports, while promoting international trade.

”Government could adopt a targeted tax policy where imported raw materials or products which already exist locally, are given discriminated tax levels,” he said, calling on the Tariff Advisory Board to be at the forefront of the situation.

Mr Asare-Adjei praised the government for passing the local content bill into law, which he said would provide some degree of equity in the oil and gas industry for local businesses.

He commended the outgoing executives for their hard work that had placed the AGI on an enviable position and pledged the new executives’ commitment to work hard to further propel the association to higher heights.

The out-gone President, Nana Owusu-Afari commended the staff and all those who supported the old executives to growth the association.

The Minister of Foreing Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hannah S. Tetteh who graced the occasion said the government was working hard to address the challenges facing the economy to enable businesses of the AGI members to grow. By Kingsley Asare

 

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