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18.07.2004 Business & Finance

Dr Nii-Noi urges financial institutions to be innovative

By GNA

Kumasi, July 18, GNA - Dr Samuel Nii-Noi Ashong, Minister of State in- charge of Economic Planning, has challenged financial institutions to adopt pragmatic steps in their operations that will facilitate the development of the private sector.

This could be achieved, he said, for instance by lowering the transaction cost of business, increasing industry's accessibility to credit and expanding their services to the rural communities through innovation and an improved payment system.

Dr Ashong threw the challenge when he addressed the first Ashanti Financial Services Excellence Awards in Kumasi, on Friday night. It was organised under the auspices of the Manhyia Palace, in recognition of the various contributions of the financial services community to the development of Asanteman.

He pointed out that the relieves that had accrued to the nation from the HIPC initiative had justified government's decision to join the initiative, saying, "the government's resolve to be focused and visionary had taken the country in and out of HIPC in a record time and with significant benefits for all of us to share".

Dr Ashong disclosed that the government had since the beginning of this year disbursed 734 billion cedis of the HIPC funds for various development projects.

Whilst calling on investors to take advantage of reduction in taxes, Dr Ashong urged financial institutions to team up with potential investors to raise the needed working capital to establish ventures that would transform the economy and create growth through employment.

Oheneba Agyemang Atwereboana, Hiahene, who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, said in view of the financial depth and coverage in Ashanti, nurtured by the entrepreneurial acumen and investment readiness of the people such awards should be institutionalised to create the enabling environment for development.

The State Insurance Company (SIC) was adjudged the overall best financial service provider in the region, while about 30 banks, insurance companies and stock brokers were also awarded. 1

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