Mr. Kweku Bedu -Addo, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, has called for the right policy frameworks that will provide a level of certainty to investors to stimulate further growth in Ghana’s banking industry.
“But for now, there appears to be some misalignment between policy intentions and the real sector outcomes and these need to be addressed,” he said.
Speaking at the bank’s 120th anniversary public lecture held in Accra Mr. Bedu- Addo said, “In effect, there has been at least three periods of austere economic policies over the last four decades which sometimes makes one asks the question: whether the institutional arrangements are robust enough to keep Ghana on a sustained path of growth, investment and reduced inequality.
The lecture was held under the theme, “120 years of commercial banking in Ghana: What next?”
It sought to share thoughts and perspectives on various programmes implemented to develop the nation’s financial sector and more significantly, the banking industry.
Being the oldest and first commercial bank in Ghana, and having served as the Central Bank until 1953, Standard Chartered Bank has been at the forefront of banking and economic evolution in Ghana, hence the decision for such a forum to reflect on the moments.
Mr. Bedu-Addo said “for the respective sector value chains to be better organised to attract private investment, it required critical and strategic planning, broad consultation with stakeholders and good execution to solve the problem”.
Mr. Ishmael Yamson, the Board Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, for his part said the banking environment was riskier today than it was some years back because of economic uncertainty and volatility.
He said the uncertainty was having negative impact on the profitability of banks and needed to be addressed.
He said besides the uncertainty increasing competition in the banking industry and provision of
financial services by technology companies also posed major risks to the industry.
He said increasing customer sophistication and demand for value added services had necessitated the need for the banks to respond adequately to these at speed, capability and infrastructural capacity would allow.
Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), who was the key speaker, said the country had not learnt lessons from the austere economic environment some years back.
He said so many years after the country went through a programme with the IMF, we are back on the same path implementing same programmes to stabilise the economy through home-grown policies.
On the economy Dr.Botchwey said government’s three-year extended credit facility arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was very important in bringing back the economy on track.
“We were not dragged to the fund screaming. We went on our own, and changes have happened since. Improvements have happened from the steady implementation of the policy. We have paid a high price. We did a massive fiscal adjustment of the order about 3 per cent of GDP. Very high indeed, but I think it was to restore confidence,” he said.
By Raymond Ackumey