Govt urged to support rural banks

The General Manager of Amantin and Kasei Community Bank in the Bono East Region, Michael Wilberforce Osae, has appealed to government to give more incentives to rural and community banks (RCBs).

He said this would enable RCBs to expand financial support towards the development of agriculture and other sectors of the economy.

The GM said that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was imperative for government to help create fiscal space for RCBs, to assist critical sectors such as agriculture and Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs.)

Mr Osae made the call in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of the Amantin and Kasei Community Bank’s 15th and 16th annual general meeting of shareholders, at Amantin.

He urged government to reduce corporate tax, indicating that “the significant increase in corporate tax from 8 per cent to 25 per cent in 2016 was taking a huge toll on performances of RCBs.”

He said “RCBs were supporting farmers who cultivated cereals and tuber crops, and reared livestock and poultry. We can do more to boost the growth and development of agriculture and other businesses, if the government can give us more incentives.”

Addressing shareholders, board chairman of Amantin and Kasei Community Bank, Dr John Oduro Boateng, announced that despite operational challenges in 2019 and 2020, the bank made impressive strides.

He said the bank made 267.84 per cent increase in profit after tax from a loss of GH¢540,609 in 2019 to GH¢907,351, in 2020.

Dr Boateng said total deposits went up from GH¢29,395,267 to GH¢44,530,023, representing 51.49 per cent growth, while investment soared by 63.09 per cent, jumping from GH¢10,144,294 to GH¢16,544,294.

He stated that the bank’s total assets grew from GH¢34,768,158 in 2019 to GH¢49,441,566, in 2020.

During the period under review, the bank increased its short term investments portfolio by 63.09 per cent, rising from GH¢10,144,294 to GH¢16,544,294, the Dr Boateng disclosed.

He noted that the bank closed the 2020 financial year with a stated capital of GH¢1,521,546 as against the industry’s threshold of GH¢1 million.

Dr Boateng said that the bank was in a good position to meet all the regulatory requirements and adhere to new policy directions from the Bank of Ghana.

The Acting Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank, Alex Kwasi Awuah, in a speech read on his behalf, urged RCBs to initiate measures to check poor credit mismanagement.

He said the move would help banks to avoid running into liquidity challenges and enable them improve their profit margins.

Mr Awuah asked RCBs to institute operational control structures and strict adherence to banking rules to curb banking fraud. 

FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, AMANTIN

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