‘Minimum capital requirements for banks to be increased’

bkgThe Bank of Ghana (BoG) has announced plans to increase the minimum capital requirement of the thirty-two universal banks in the country.

The Governor of the BoG, Dr Abdul Nashiru Issahaku who disclosed this at the 16th annual working luncheon and the 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) in Accra, said the move was to build the financial capacity of the banks to take on big ticket deals.

“The BoG is of the conviction that the time to inject more capital is now and this is to enable banks to become strong and resilient and position them to take on big ticket deals both locally and internationally,” he said.

Dr Issahaku indicated that a technical committee had been set up within the BoG to review and recommend an appropriate level of minimum regulatory capital for banks in Ghana.

He explained that an asset quality review undertaking on the loans and investment portfolio of banks in Ghana by some accounting firms on behalf of the BoG in the first half of this year pointed to the need for injection of additional capital by banks.

The Governor said in order to grow at an accelerated pace and reduce poverty and advance economically, there was the need to build on the financial capacity of the banks to embark on bigger projects with sound capital base to absorb shocks with losing momentum.

“Let me  state that, it should be possible for banks in Ghana to grant loans to finance projects abroad in competition with other global players,” he said, adding that “competition in the banking industry is driving banks to open up their branch network which requires large deployment of resources”.

Touching on the banking industry, the Governor said the BoG’s recent assessment suggests that the banking industry remained relatively stable, solvent and liquid and indicated that there had been marginal improvements in solvency and core liquidity indicators of the banks and the profitability indicators suggest a pick up.

The President of GAB, Alhassan Andani earlier in his address said the banking industry continues to record impressive growth in spite of the macroeconomic challenges.

He said the banking industry played critical roles to the development of the country and contributed hugely to the Gross Domestic Product.

“The banking industry is growing and shareholders are committed to ensuring the banks are well capitalised,” he said.

Mr. Andani said the banking industry would continue to invest in new technologies and develop innovative products to meet the growing needs of customers to promote financial inclusion.

Touching on the high Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) recorded by the banks in the previous, which was above fourteen per cent, he said he was hopeful the high NPL figures would improve next year.

 By Kingsley Asare


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