The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched the Ghana Sustainable Banking Principles (SBPs) and Sector Guidance Notes with a call on banks to focus on projects that promote environmental and economic prosperity.
He said environmental protection and economic prosperity had become critical pillars in banking finance across the world and banks in the country must prioritise same.
The SBP and Sector Guidance Notes on the theme “Sustainability in banking” was developed by the Ghana Association of Bankers in collaboration with the Bank of Ghana and Environmental Protection Agencies, focuses on five key sectors namely; agriculture and forestry, mining and oil and gas, construction and real estate, energy and power and manufacturing.
Among others, the SBPs enjoin the banks in the country to assess economic, environmental and social risks affecting the projects and businesses they finance and also prioritise projects that did not have harmful impact on the environment.
Dr Bawumia who delivered the keynote address and launched the SBP and Guidance Notes said it was in the interest of banks to finance projects that protected the environment in view of the current threat of climate change.
He added that financing projects that exacerbated climate change and destroy the environment could have serious financial effect on the banking industry.
The Vice President said the SBP had been developed in line with local peculiarities and international banking standards.
Dr Bawumia said the SBP would help the banks in the country to access the more than $7 Trillion worth of green finance fund from international developing and banking institutions
He said the SBP would be initially applied to universal banks and later to rural banks, savings and loans and micro finance institutions as well as other financial institutions.
Dr Bawumia commended the BoG, GAB and EPA for the SBP and the IFC and other partners for sponsoring the development of the SBP.
The Governor of the BoG, Dr Ernest Addison, said the exercise for the SBP was started in 2017 and said the SBP would ensure that environmental and social risks associated with projects financed by banks were well managed.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta in a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, Charles Adu-Boahene, said macroeconomic stability could not be achieved without sustainable banking.
He said the SBP would provide opportunity for banks to develop that were environmentally and gender responsive.
The President of Ghana Bankers Association (GAB) explained that the SBP was crafted by the banks themselves and urged members to implement the principles.
He said the GAB would work with member banks to implement the SBP.
The President of Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB), Reverend Mrs Particia Sappor commended the BoG, GAB and EPA for the SBP.
She said the CIB would support the implementation of the SBP and incorporate it in the CIB course.
By Kingsley Asare