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26.03.2004 Business & Finance

Barclays Bank launches products to grow SMEs

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Kumasi, March 26, GNA - Barclays Bank Ghana Limited on Friday launched its 'Local Business Solution", a range of products it has specially packaged to help to grow the country's Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to propel the economy in Kumasi.

These include, among other things, access to business loans with flexible repayment schedules, hassle free processing of loans application, sourcing of unsecured loans of up to 50 million cedis and zero minimum balance requirement for the opening of savings accounts by customers operating local business accounts with the bank. Besides, customers could also sign on to the "Business Club" where they would receive specialist advice, network and share experiences with business people and get trained on cash flow management, international trade and other strategic issues.

Mr Kobina Quansah, the Managing Director of the bank, noted that given the right push, the SMEs could play pivotal role in the country's development.

He said it should not be lost on anyone that most of the companies that had grown to become conglomerates the world over, started from poor and humble beginnings.

He was therefore, not happy with the historical neglect by the country's financial sector of the SMEs.

"Many of these companies have been obliged to operate under very challenging conditions due to the nature of the lending policies of the banks".

Mr Quansah said the new products they have introduced were therefore designed to satisfy the needs of the companies so as to enhance their viability and efficiency.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, in an address read for him, said reducing poverty and creating wealth in the country would not be achieved through abstract academic theories or political slogans but the ingenuity of the people.

He said it was on the basis of this that the government has created a conducive macro-economic environment for the people to take advantage of.

Mr Boafo said considering the fact that SMEs employ about one million people, it is important that they are given every necessary support to enable them operate more efficiently.

The Regional Minister reminded the business community that in modern business management, debt financing for a growing business was as imperative as the provision of capital by the owners.

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