The Director of the Financial Sector Division at the Ministry of Finance, Sampson Akligoh, has disclosed that measures have been put in place to ensure the success and independence of the yet-to-be formed Development Bank Ghana (DBG).
According to him, government has learned its lessons from the failures of previous development banks and is striving to ensure the new development bank becomes credible and is free from political interference and manipulation.
He was speaking at the first-ever public forum on the Development Bank on June 17 in Accra.
The forum, organized by Impact Investing Ghana in partnership with Citi TV was under the theme “What is the Role of the Development Bank in Ghana’s Economic Transformation?”
Mr Akligoh noted that a lot of consultations have been held with the World Bank and stakeholders to ensure that the new wholesale Bank which will start operations in July 2021 stays true to its core mandate.
“We have actually taken our time to make sure that as humanly as possible the government checks the processes leading to the formation of this bank so that we have a credible institution that is independent and has the adequate human resources that can do things differently from the past.
This includes the appointment of independent boards and the Act that will establish it, which has been registered with the Registrar-General,” he added.
The new Development Bank, he said, will be a non-deposit-taking wholesale bank and that the bank will neither give retail nor direct business loans but rather focus on Agribusiness, with a focus on off-farm value-chain activities and support ICT, software, and allied services, including Business-Process Outsourcing, and Tourism.
Mr Akligoh stated that the Bank will provide funds to existing commercial banks, and other qualifying financial institutions, to provide long-term lending and other innovative products that are presently lacking in the system.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Sleek Garments Export Limited, Nora Bannerman-Abbott, who was a panelist on the forum has lauded the government’s decision to establish the National Development Bank.
According to her, the bank will boost the capacity of small, medium and even large businesses in Ghana and help them acquire long-term financing to help them expand their infrastructure.
“One of the biggest challenges for businesses in Ghana has been access to finance, and it isn’t the unavailability of finance, but the cost of it. All the banks are currently operating as universal banks and not only that, they charge such high commercial lending rates of between 25% and 33%, and so it is no wonder that so many business owners end up being scammed by ponzi schemes,” she said.
“AGI is very excited. We are happy that the government is looking at the establishment of this Development Bank of Ghana,” the entrepreneur added.
Banking and Corporate Governance Consultant, Richmond Atuahene, called for a national agenda that will encourage consensus building on the creation of viable strategies for economic growth.
He bemoaned the situation where successive governments rather promoted their political agenda, at the detriment of a national agenda that would lead to the development of the economy and the nation.
“We do not seem to have a national agenda. What we have is a political agenda and a nation should have its own national agenda which will be pursued by all political parties. I think if the nation wants to go forward, we must have a consensus-building and national agenda, else we cannot go anywhere,” he stated.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS