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20.12.2007 Regional News

Call for more rural banks in the north

By The Statesman
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Agnes Chigabatia, Acting District Chief Executive for Bawku West District has made a passionate appeal to the Association of Rural Banks in Ghana to assist districts in the three northern regions to acquire licenses from the Central Bank of Ghana to open more rural banks in northern Ghana.

She noted that the gesture will enhance and increase the level of savings culture, access to credit facilities, employment and extend banking services closer to the door steps of the rural poor.

Mrs Chigabatia made the appeal at Zebilla during the Biennial General Meeting of the North Eastern Chapter of the Association of Rural Banks which was held here at the weekend.

She stated that Ghana could hit a low inflation digit in the year 2015 when the rural poor have access to loans and other facilities from financial institutions that are operating within their environs.

"I wish to therefore use this forum to appeal to the Association of Rural Banks to consider exploring avenues of extending banking services closer to the door steps of our people living in the rural communities," she maintained.

The Builsa North Member of Parliament further urged the various district assemblies in northern Ghana to give priority to communities that express the desire to establish rural banks in their areas.

This, she observed will go a long way to alleviate the plight of the suffering masses in the remote areas as a means of eradicating poverty, illiteracy, hunger and diseases in northern Ghana.

Mrs Chigabatia however advised persons who have received loans and other credit facilities from the rural banks to hasten their repayment to enable others have access to it.

John Asabigi, President of the north eastern chapter of the association hinted that by next year two more banks will fully be operational in Bongo the Upper East Region and the Gushegu district in northern region.

He announced that the chapter through application to the Business Advocacy Challenge Fund received almost ¢387 million to carry out advocacy in the interest of promoting rural banking in northern Ghana.

He mentioned lack of qualified personnel, inadequate logistics and delay in repaying loans as some of the challenges that are trumpeting the rural banking sector in the three northern regions.

Rural banking started in the mid-70's primarily to meet the credit needs of the rural agricultural sector of the economy and that the first rural bank in Ghana was established on 5th July, 1976 at Nyakrom in the Central Region.

Today there are 123 rural community banks nationwide and narrowing the figure down to the three northern regions, there are only twelve out of which the Toende Rural Bank in Zebilla is one.

By Mariam Mandeiya

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