The President of the Ghana Trade Union Association (GUTA), Dr Joseph Obeng has appealed to the government to set up a Traders’ Bank to enable its members to access affordable loans to boost their businesses.
According to him, it had become increasingly difficult for members to borrow from banks because of the high interest rates.
“We will propose that government set up a parallel Bank similar to Agriculture Development Bank or National Investment Banks. However, this one will be tailored for traders and local manufacturers to enable them to access capital at affordable pricing,” he said.
Dr Obeng made the appeal during a meeting organised by GUTA to engage its members to discuss their challenges and find best ways to solve them.
The President of GUTA stated that most of the problems faced by traders and local manufacturers bothered on high interest rates which was contributing to their businesses failing.
“If our foreign counterparts are getting loans at three percent and from within the country we are getting it around 22 percent, there is a clear difference of 19 percent and in our case looking at the loan rate. A lot of businesses are failing because the high interest rate is overwhelming many of us,” he said.
He reiterated that “if the government wants businesses to triumph in the country, especially in Africa where continental free trade is being considered, then we have take a second look at our interest rate and make way for industries to get reduced interest rates,”
He added that the continental free trade area would not ‘ve successful as long as interest rates were high, and advised the government to consider the Traders’ Bank to solve the problems of high interest rates.
That, he said would ensure a meaningful trade that would make local traders and manufacturers to compete with their peers in other parts of the world.
He commended government for the stimulus package given to GUTA memebers and urged members who have not received theirs to be patient.
The Eastern Regional Chairman of GUTA, Mr Harry Oduro Awuku for his part, also raised concern about the high interest rates, saying that the rates were draining GUTA members of their profits,.
He appealed to banks to reduce their rates to make it affordable to traders and local manufacturers.
From Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, Koforidua