Shareholders attending the 38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Enyan Denkyira Rural Bank (EDRB) Limited have questioned the decision of Bank of Ghana (BoG) to community and rural banks not to pay dividends for the year ending 2019.
In April this year, the BoG gave notice to banks in the country not to pay dividends to shareholders for the 2019 and 2020 financial years because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Going by the BoG’s decision, the EDRB refused to declare dividends for its shareholders for the year ending 2019..
At the rural bank’s AGM last Saturday, October 31, 2020, at Ajumako Owane, the shareholders raised issues about the decision and asked whether officials of the BoG who took that decision thought through it with regard to its implications for the shareholders.
They also asked if those officials thought of not receiving certain allowances due them.
In the circumstances, the shareholders vehemently kicked against increment in allowances for the members of the Board of Directors of the rural bank.
Later in an interview with some of the shareholders, they were unanimous that “in spite of COVID-19, the bank declared profit, so we don’t understand why we should not be paid dividend but the directors should have their allowances increased.”
One of the shareholders, Mr Ebo Prah, who broached the discussion on the dividend at the AGM, said in the interview that “the profit made for 2019 is a little bit higher than that of 2018, that is GHC412,107 against GHC400,190).
“Why can’t they pay the same GHC80,000 paid as dividend for 2018?”
Meanwhile the profit of the Enyan Denkyira Rural Bank in the Ajumako-Enyan Essiam District of the Central Region in 2019 increased to GHC412, 107 from GHC400, 190 in 2018.
This represents a 2.98 per cent increase over the figure recorded in 2019.
Operating income increased to GHC3.465 million from GHc3.170 million in 2018, representing a growth of 9.2 per cent.
In addition, total assets of the bank increased from GHC14, 000,242 in 2018 to GHC17, 190,140 in 2019, representing an increase of 22.8 per cent.
The Chairman of Enyan Denkyira Rural Bank, Dr William Panford Bray attributed the modest growth in profit to the challenging economic environment.
Concerning dividend, he said the bank’s performance was better, yet “the regulators have, however, suspended the declaration and payment of dividends to shareholders for the financial 2019 and 2020 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 to enable the banks to absorb any potential operating losses.
“The Board is thus constrained from recommending declaration of dividends until this suspension is waived by the regulators.”
Touching on the way forward for the Bank, the Chairman said the future looked bright for it in spite of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic was not abating.
FROM KWEKU GYASI ESSEL, AJUMAKO ONWANE