From Godfred Blay Gibbah, Tema

The Ghana Micro-finance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN) has called for the establishment of a strong monitor-ing system to guard the operations of micro-finance institutions (MFIs) and rid the industry of miscreants who take undue advantage of the poor for their personal gains.

Speaking at the sixth annual general meeting in Accra, the chairman of GHAMFIN, Mr. Emmanuel Darko, lamented the situation in which the industry have been evaded by “self seeking and inexperienced agents” who exploit the poor in the name of MFIs and sometimes run away with their money.

He said, the sector should therefore, devise strategies to build the capacity of its members and monitor their operations as part of efforts to sanitize the industry.

This year’s meeting was held on the theme, “Promoting industry transparency through a unified code of conduct”.

Mr. Darko indicated that the GHAMFIN was to adopt a unified code of conducts as part of several measures to inject sanity into an industry that had seen several players collapsed.

According to him, more than 46 MFIs collapsed in 2013 alone due to bad managerial skills, poor product designs among others, which have prompted calls for measures to curtail the increasing failure of MFIs.

He noted that the sustainability of more than 1420 MFIs and 722 individual money lenders and susu collectors serving more than nine million customers in the country remained a critical issue for the industry.

According to Mr. Darko, the introduction of the code of conduct came at a time the sector regulator, Bank of Ghana, was considering issuing directives on product transparency and a complaint or recourse mechanism as means to protect financial consumers.

Professor Samuel Anim, an associate Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), said there was the need for members to demonstrate transparency and accountability by disclosing vital information required for mutual understanding between them and their customers

According to him, there was the lack of transparency and accountability in the operations of microfinance institutions which was contributing to the failure of some members.

Prof. Anim, therefore, urged members to provide information on pricing, terms and conditions, as well as all other features of a product to clients, to guide them in selecting appropriate products that suit their needs.

He commended the association for making efforts to introduce a code of conduct and urged them to tailor it in such a way that it would communicate full information of their products and services to their clients in a clear, concise and transparent manner and in a language that clients could understand so that they can make informed decisions about product choices.

By Charles Amankwa  

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