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19.05.2004 Business & Finance

Invest in agro-processing - Aliu urges commercial banks

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Accra, May, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Tuesday asked commercial banks to support agro-processing businesses as their contribution towards the creation of wealth to alleviate poverty. The banks, he said, should also extend long-term credit facilities to small and medium sized companies so that their businesses would thrive.

Vice President Mahama, who said this when he received Mr Didier Alix, Director-General of Societe Generale Group, Paris, explained that since Ghana's economy was largely agricultural-driven, adding value to primary products would increase the earnings of farmers and significantly improve rural economies.

He, however, expressed concern about the reluctance of banks to support such businesses, saying high bank charges and interest rates were rather crippling those businesses.

"Sometimes you put your money in the bank to save it, but before long, all the money is lost to charges," he said. He tasked Societe-Generale, which acquired 51 per cent of the issued capital of SSB Bank in 2002, thus changing its name to SG-SSB, to use its influence in the Francophone countries to generate business for the Bank.

Mr Alix, who recently assumed responsibility for the SG's operations, said his visit was to acquaint himself with the Bank's operations in Ghana.