14.08.2006 Business & Finance

Cabinet Approves Conversion Of First Ghana Building Society Into Housing Bank

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The First Ghana Building Society has been converted into a housing bank. This follows Cabinet approval for the transformation of the Society into a limited liability company this year.

Torgbega Patamia Dzekley VII, Acting Managing Director of the Society, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency, said the Society was operating under an outdated Ordinance, which limited its capacity to raise equity capital.

There is also the absence of a cheque system to facilitate deposit mobilisation and inadequate and poor banking infrastructure and logistics.

Torgbega Dzekley said the new image of the Society would give it the mandate to specialise in the financing of housing. He said the key strategic projects identified for financing to catalyse the rapid growth and profitability of the Society was to procure and install cutting-edge mortgage financing/banking soft wares, hard wares and networking of its system to enhance efficiency.

Torgbgega Dzekley said Management had submitted to government a proposal for the conversion of the priority business of the Society into mortgage financing and deposit mobilisation. He said during the 50 years of the bank's operations, it had provided 12,000 houses, adding: "This came to a standstill because our fortunes have nose-dived."

The Society, established in 1955 is collaborating with the Bank of Housing (la Banque de I' Habitat) of Tunisia to facilitate the provision of affordable housing units in Ghana.

The agreement, which was signed between the bank and the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning was the outcome of a visit by Vice President Aliu Mahama to Tunisia last November, where he expressed interest in the model housing project.

The project was being replicated in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville.

Tunisia would provide the technical, human and professional skills to facilitate the interest of Ghana to deliver housing projects without depending on the conventional means of doing so.

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