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11.02.2009 Business & Finance

SPEED holds media orientation on financial Literacy programme

By GNA

ournalists were on Wednesday urged to

intensify their roles in consumer education and protection by providing

accurate information on financial borrowings, to enable small and

medium term borrowers to make wise and informed decisions.

Mr Ken Appenteng Mensah, a micro-finance expert from the

Support Programme for Enterprise Empowerment and Development

(SPEED Ghana), at a media orientation in Accra on consumer

education and protection, said micro financing had become a very

popular venture for most financial institutions in recent times, yet

consumers lacked basic information to help them make informed

choices.
He said since the target clients of microfinance were the poor in the

informal sector but not exclusively in the rural areas, they tended to be

transacted between unequal partners with the latter having very limited

access to information. Clients were sometimes disadvantaged, unfairly

treated and their rights abused.
He said as a result, moral arguments had been raised for

micro-finance consumer protection, which focused on the imbalance of

power between lenders and borrowers.
Mr Mensah urged the media to be instrumental in acquiring the right

kind information from financial institutions at different stages of the

borrowing and investment cycle and educate the public on such details

to prevent cheating and abuse.
The programme, which was organized by SPEED Ghana in

collaboration with Strategic Communications Africa Limited

(Stratcomm Africa), attracted journalists from both the print and

electronic as well as the wire service.
Mr Mensah said microfinance was becoming increasingly popular,

both locally and internationally, with some of the commercial banks in

Ghana getting into the business.
He said the extent of the social objectives of these businesses,

however, differed from institution to institution, adding that in some

cases the commercial objectives far more overrode the social concerns.

“Currently the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Association of

Bankers are promoting the promulgation of a Lenders and Borrowers

Act, whilst the Ministry of Trade and PSI is also looking at the

Consumers Protections Act to enhance protection measures in the

country,” he said.
In addition to these efforts, he said, SPEED Ghana had designed a

consumer protection and education campaign dubbed; the “Road

Show,” in which all stakeholders including the general public, through

the use of puppet shows, drummers, documentaries and other

education fliers and posters, provided basic financial literacy

information on micro-financing to consumers.
He said since the campaign was launched in 2007, the Road Show

had been conducted in seven of the 10 regions in Ghana-- Central,

Ashanti, Eastern, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo.

He said the next Road Show would be from February 17 to March

11 in nine rural towns and suburbs in the Greater Accra region including

Prampram, Afienya, Ashaiman, Ada, Madina, Dome, Mallam, Dodowa

and Old Ningo.
Mr Mensah said it was important that the media collaborated and

networked with financial institutions that operated micro-finance

schemes to enable them to follow their proceedings to be able to report

accurately and provide timely education to the consumers, using simple

language and terms that could be understood by all persons.

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