04.10.2004 Regional News

Pupils fail to utilize rural bank's scholarship package

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Abokobi (G/A), Oct. 4, GNA - A three million-cedi scholarship package for Junior Secondary School pupils in the Abokobi Traditional Area offered by the Abokobi Area Rural Bank has not been utilised for the past two years because of poor performance of pupils.

Mr Sam Clegg, Board Chairman, who disclosed this at the 12th Annual General Meeting of the Bank at Abokobi, near Accra, on Saturday, expressed disappointment at the poor standard of education in the area. He said only two students had been able to access the scholarship "as students fail to attain the requirement of seven ones out of 10 subjects at the Basic Examination Certificate Education (BECE) level".

The Bank has resolved to spend three million cedis on a qualified student for the three-year duration at the Senior Secondary School level. Mr Clegg, a veteran Journalist and Former Editor of Daily Graphic and Former Acting General Manager of the Ghana News Agency, said in view of the development, the Bank had introduced and sponsored extra classes for all Junior Secondary School pupils at Danfa and Abokobi. It pays the weekly allowances of teachers who participate in the programme and provides textbooks for the pupils.

Mr Clegg urged parents and teachers to encourage their children and pupils to take advantage of the offer. He commended the shareholders who passed a resolution last year to convert the 2002 dividends into additional shares. This singular action, Mr Clegg said, enabled the Bank to reach Bank of Ghana's stated minimum share capital requirement of 100 million cedis.

Mr Clegg warned staff of the Bank against any financial deals, as punitive measures would be taken against those involved. "The Board is determined to instil discipline among members of staff and, therefore, anybody caught indulging in any fraudulent activity would be handed over to the law enforcement agencies."

Mr Richard Mettle Addo, Head, Training Department of the ARB Apex Bank, said the Bank had adopted measures to help tackle poverty alleviation through micro finance and financial outlays to individuals and groups, who could not be assisted by the big banks. He said a micro-finance desk had been established at the offices of the ARB Apex Bank to assist rural banks to formulate new programmes and activities to bring relief to the masses, which required assistance and directions to be able to overcome poverty.

Mr Addo said Apex Bank had designed several training programmes, which would be implemented for all categories of rural bank personnel to upgrade their performance. He expressed the hope that these tailor-made programmes would address identified weakness in the operation of rural banks and put them on the road to domination of the banking sector in Ghana.

Mr Addo stated that every rural bank would be assisted with the state-of -the art computers and banking software to link Apex Bank regional and head offices in a wide area network to facilitate transactions.

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