The Bank of Ghana has directed all banks and Specialised Deposit Institutions (SDIs), to desist from declaring and paying any dividends or distributing reserves to shareholders as the country fights the COVID-19 pandemic.
By this, shareholders are not expected to receive dividend from banks and SDIs for the 2019/2020 financial year.
A press statement issued by the central bank in Accra added that banks and SDIs were barred from making any irrevocable commitments regarding the declaration or payment of dividends to shareholders, until further notice.
According to the regulator of the financial sector, the decision was taken to ensure that banks and SDIs were better able to support their customers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period.
He further explained that the aim was “to absorb any potential operational losses for banks and SDIs from the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, shareholders in this context mean holders of Common Equity Shares (CET1) and Additional Tier I (AT1) capital instruments of banks and SDIs,” the statement said.
The Bank of Ghana stressed that it would only grant exception to a financial institution (s) only under the condition that such institutions have satisfied and met the regular prudential requirements and are not relying on the additional liquidity released by the regulatory reliefs provided by the central bank.
The Bank of Ghana assured that it would continue to monitor the evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on banks and SDIs and on their customers, and would issue further directives as required.
This is one of the many decisions the regulator has taken in the wake of the pandemic to protect banks and their clients as well.