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12.05.2008 Business & Finance

Lenders, Borrowers Bill Before Parliament

By Winston Tamakloe, Ho - newtimesonline.com

THE Government is drafting a bill for Parliament to provide a ceiling to banks operating in the country to streamline their lending and borrowing rates.

Known as the Lenders and Borrowers Bill, it seeks to promote a fair marketplace for access to credit, provide improved standards of borrower information, to prohibit unfair credit marketing practices.

Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President’s Special Initiative, made this known during an open forum at the launch of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Project here.

The project which is under the auspices of the International Department Agency, International Finance Corporate with support from the government seeks to provide essential financial and technical support to enhance MSME development in the country.

Under the project, the government, in collaboration with the World Bank Group is providing 118.9 million dollars to support the development of the sector nationwide.

Mr Agyeman-Manu pointed out that the banks were refusing to heed to government’s advice to them to reduce their lending rates which he said was making the cost of doing business expensive.

'When the bills are passed into law by parliament, the issue of high lending rates by banks would be a thing of the past,' he said.

Mr Agyeman-Manu advised MSMEs to desist from being lured by banks to access the borrowing and lending rates and access funds and interventions being provided by the government since their lending rates are moderate.

'We need your support for the government to bring sanity into the borrowing and lending rates in the banking sector to encourage a cash flow base approach instead of collateral for the MSMEs to thrive in the competitive business world,' he said.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu urged the private sector to use the opportunities offered by the project to further process their produce for both domestic and export markets.

In an address read on his behalf, Kofi Dzamesi, the Volta Regional Minister, said that the region is endowed with abundant natural resources and stressed the need for MSMEs to tap the resources to ensure speedy development.

Reuben Amegashi, regional Economic Planning Officer, who chaired the function, urged project managers and the banks to form linkages and monitoring units to ensure its implementation and sustainability.

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