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19.11.2007 Business & Finance

Financial Sector Not Responding To Government Initiatives- Financial Minister

By GNA
In spite of government initiatives to attract investment in the financial sector, response had fallen below expectation, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, has noted.
   
 He said conditions attached to loans made it almost impossible for the private sector, which had been identified as the engine of growth, to access enough funds for improvement.   The banking sector would therefore require Managers who could see beyond institutional bottlenecks to identify potentially good prospective customers and investments, he said.
    
Mr Baah-Wiredu made these observations at the weekend in a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the new corporate logo of the Intercontinental Bank Ghana Limited in Accra that coincided with the first anniversary of its commencement of operations in Ghana.
     
The Minister noted that increasing deregulation, globalisation and tough competition posed a challenge to the sector.   He noted that the macro-economic stability in the country, as indicated in the 2008 budget statement, had made investment in the financial sector possible coupled with other policies conducive to business.
    
These policies included the abolition of secondary reserves to make funds available for private sector-led development, the introduction of the Credit Reporting Bill that seeks to make data on creditors available to facilitate credit rating and referencing and the on-site and off-site supervision through regulation to ensure fair competition.
    
He said these initiatives were aimed at ensuring safety and soundness of investment, to bring integrity and leverage in the competition in the financial sector and make the cost of borrowing cheaper to the private sector, especially for small and medium enterprises.
 
 Mr Baah-Wiredu said the government had an agenda to transform the nation's economy to make the lives of the people better to ensure that development in the banking sector was in tune with government's aspirations.
    
He commended Intercontinental Bank for its groundbreaking initiative, saying, 'We welcome initiatives that lead to appropriate branding and competition in the market place'.   The Minister stated that the country aimed to achieve a seven percent growth in GDP, adding that, numerous challenges faced the banking sector that required them to acquire new infrastructure and training in modern ways of doing business.
   
 Mr Albert Mmegwa, Managing Director of the IBGL, said the bank's ambition was to become a global giant within the shortest time and stated that the new Logo would make the Bank visible in the global economy.
 
  He said the bank did not only want to stand out in performance but to be distinct when its new logo was placed among that of other banks.
     
Mr Mmegwa gave the assurance that the Bank would continue to provide excellent service and 'cutting edge' financial solutions to its customers and prospective ones.
He said the Bank would soon open new branches across the country to serve its customers better.
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