The government will continue to support the development of microfinance since it holds the key to povery reduction, a Director at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has said.
Mr Kobina Amoah said easy access to finance, particularly microfinance, would help the country to accelerate the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Consequently, he said, the government would continue to put in place legislations and reforms to transform the financial sector for the efficient mobilisation and allocation of funds and make it fully integrated in the global financial system.
Speaking at the inauguration of the offices of Ezi Savings and Loans Limited, Mr Amoah said “the government recognises that tackling poverty is one of the most effective ways to achieve all the other seven of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and that microfinance is a strategy for wealth creation and poverty reduction.”
He noted that the multi-faceted features of microfinance which served as an instrument for wealth creation required an integrated effort by all stakeholders.
Mr Amoah added that the government in partnership with some development partners were promoting an enabling environment for microfinance growth as a strategy for wealth creation and poverty reduction.
He entreated Ezi Savings to put in extra efforts of sensitising consumers to financial literacy with truthful and transparent simple information.
“While the financial sector is undergoing a rapid expansion and growth, one issue that must start engaging our attention is consumer education and protection to safeguard the interest of consumers of financial services and empower them to know their rights and liabilities”, he said.
The company, formerly known as the Johnsons Savings and Loans Limited, was incorporated in 1995 and licensed in 1996 by the Bank of Ghana as a deposit taking non-banking institution.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Jonathan K. Sam, said at the inauguration of the new office in Accra that the company changed its corporate identity following restructuring and re-capitalisation to boost its operations.
“Ezi offers a wide range of innovative products to the public. Some of these products include Ezi Saving and Current Account, Ezi Fixed Deposit, Kids Account, Ezi Susu, as well as short and medium term loans to workers, individuals and businesses”, he stated.
Mr Sam said their vision was to become the most preferred non-banking financial institution by the year 2015 with networked branches in all regional and district capitals in the country.
The Assistant Director of the Banking Supervision Department of the Bank of Ghana, Mr Philip E. Cobbinah, said the Bank of Ghana appreciated the efforts of non-bank financial institutions extending financial services to the informal sector of the economy.
He advised the company to stay focused in order to create a niche for itself in the sector, adding that with the proliferation of financial institutions all over the country, it was important for them to stay competitive in terms of pricing, product innovation and service delivery.
Story by Edward Turkson