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21.12.2004 Regional News

Poverty Alleviation loan repayment is low

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Juansa (Ash), Dec. 21, GNA - Mr George Frempong, District Chief Executive for Asante-Akim North at the weekend expressed grave concern about the slow repayment of the Poverty Alleviation loan, which deprives others from benefiting from the scheme.

He regretted that only 50 per cent of the total 500 million cedis loan granted under the scheme since 1996, has been recovered by the assembly. Mr Frempong, who was speaking at the 17th Annual General Meeting of the Asante-Akim Rural Bank at Juansa, asked defaulters of the loan not to use their affiliation with a particular political party to unduly delay repayment of the loan.

He said defaulters called upon to repay their loans, give such unfavourable reply, "if you arrest me, I will not vote for you next time." This is most unfortunate and a bad principle. He, therefore, called for a change of the name of the loan to Micro Financing Loan, so that entrepreneurs such as poultry keepers, and agricultural projects could be assisted with bigger loans to expand their projects.

Mr Frempong said such entrepreneurs could be given loans between 20 to 50 million cedis so that they could expand to employ more people to put more money in people's pockets.

He criticised the present mode of the 500,000 cedis loans that are given to people under the Poverty Alleviation, and said the money is used by those, who access the loans as chop money, that is why beneficiaries find it difficult to repay the loans. Nana Karikari Akyeampong, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank in the annual report said the year 2003 saw a real growth in the bank's operations.

He said total deposits grew from 8.8 billion cedis in 2002 to 13 billion cedis in 2003, representing 48.3 per cent, while loans/advances were from 2.8 billion cedis in 2002 to 2.5 billion cedis. Investments were from 4 billion cedis in 2002 to 8 billion cedis in 2003, which is 94.9 per cent, while ordinary shares went from 69 million cedis in 2002 to 240 million cedis in 2003, which is 248 per cent.

Profit shot up from 710 million cedis to 829 million cedis and a tax of 71.6 million cedis was paid to government, leaving a net profit of 757.2 million cedis.

Among those present were, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu MP for Asante-Akim North, Mrs Gifty Ohene-Konadu, MP elect for Asante-Akim South, Nana Akuko Sarpong, Omanhene of Agogo Traditional area.

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