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10.09.2013 Business & Finance

Association welcomes BoG's recapitalization of microfinance firms

By Luv FM | Kofi Adu Domfeh
Association welcomes BoG's recapitalization of microfinance firms
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The Ghana Association of Microfinance Companies (GAMC) has welcomed the increase in minimum capital requirement for operators in the industry.

National Chairman, Collins Amponsah Mensah, says raising the liquidity requirement for non-bank financial institutions is in the interest of the business and customers.

“What this means is that operators will have enough to set up their office and then [have] enough working capital, so that the over-reliance on public funds, which currently is the problem of our members, will be reduced; we'll have enough capital to give out as loans,” he told Luv Biz Report.

The revised Bank of Ghana operating rules and guidelines for microfinance institutions categorized the sector into two – Tier 2 of deposit-taking and Tier 3 of non-deposit taking institutions.

Effective August 30, 2013, new entrants applying to operate as non-deposit taking firms would require a minimum paid-up capital of GH¢300,000 whilst deposit-taking institutions require a minimum of GH¢500,000.

Existing microfinance companies have up to 30th June, 2016 to meet the new requirements.

Institutions with 1-5 branches attract an additional paid-up capital of GH¢100,000 for each branch, whilst those with more than 5 branches attract an additional GH¢200,000 for each branch.

“Not more than 25% of initial paid-up capital or additional capital for branches shall be spent on property, plant and equipment (capital expenditure). That is, at least 75% of all initial paid-up capital and/or additional capital shall be in liquid cash resources to support operations”, read the guideline.

The Ghanaian microfinance industry has faced managerial and liquidity challenges, resulting in client apathy.

There have been calls for strict monitoring of operators to protect depositors' savings and to prevent the industry from collapse.

Mr. Amponsah Mensah believes this will also require collective public responsibility to ensure the microfinance industry thrive effectively and efficiently.

“I see it as a national responsibility to support these companies to be able to stay in business so that they can continue to provide financial services to our people”, he stated.

Meanwhile, Fidelity Bank is partnering the GAMC to build the capacity of microfinance institutions, in order to deepen financial inclusion at the grassroots level.

Director for Consumer Banking, Selom Cofie Atta, regards the MFIs as important in serving the financial needs of the mass market.

Fidelity has the focus of engaging the MFIs to reach out to micro enterprises with qualitative financing in line with its commitment to general economic growth, she said.

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