The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama has urged the people of northern Ghana to take advantage of the numerous opportunities being provided by banks and other financial institutions that are setting up shop in the regions, to expand their businesses.
He called on them to actively engage the banks in their business to ensure a win-win situation, whilst helping develop the area. He noted that, businesses in the region are not meant for strangers but for the people in the area, adding, "Don't sit down for strangers to do all the work, business is not for the stranger."
The Vice President made these assertions at the official commissioning of the Tamale Business Office of Intercontinental Bank Ghana, in Tamale. This is the first branch of the bank outside Accra.
Alhaji Mahama hinted that, more Banks are likely to be established in Tamale, saying that, the banks are now willing to open their branches in the region because there is peace in Dagbon. "No bank will establish in a place where there is instability and chaos," he said
The Vice President said, within two years of its existence, the Intercontinental Bank Ghana has leapfrogged many other banks to join the few banks already operating in the region.
He said, since it commenced business operations in 2006 in Ghana, the IBG has increased its total asset base of GH¢ 19,600,000.00 to over GH¢98,800,000.00, representing 400 percent growth within its first year of full banking operations.
He noted that, the growth in the banking system, demonstrates the value of the NPP Governments' far sighted financial policies.
He said, since 2001, the aim of government has been to create an environment to empower individuals to create and wealth, adding that, the government has worked hard to revive and expand the financial sector.
Alhaji Mahama stressed that, after liberations and better regulation, many new banks and other financial institutions have sprung up, leading to growth in the economy, healthy competition and more access to banking and financial services, as well as new jobs.
He said, there is still a wide gap between banking services and some sections of the population and therefore challenge the banks and other financial intermediaries to focus their strategies to reach many more people in order to complement government efforts at jobs creation and poverty alleviation in the country.
The Vice President appealed to the banking community not to overlook the importance of agricultural financing, saying agriculture is the main occupation of the majority of the people.
The Managing Director and CEO of the Intercontinental Bank Ghana, Albert Mmegwa noted that, the launching of the Tamale Business Office of the bank is in fulfillment of an earlier promise made to bring banking products and services to the doorsteps of as many Ghanaians as possible, adding that, the bank is ready to deliver its tailored products and services to the people of Tamale and its environs.
Mr Mmegwa pointed out that now more than ever, the country needs to harness her full business potential irrespective of location, and the establishment of the Tamale IBG office was the bank's contribution to this national effort.
He assured that more offices will be opened in the future, admitting that one business office in Tamale will not meet the total needs of the people. "This is only but one step" he said.