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29.12.2004 Business & Finance

Banker advocates Agricultural development fund

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Accra, Dec. 29, GNA - Mr. William Tetteh, a General Manager of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), on Wednesday expressed the need for Ghana to establish an agricultural development fund that would provide long-term capital for the provision of the requisite infrastructure to boost production.

He said the fund could source funds from levies on food and other imports, the reconstruction levy and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, to support the institutions that wanted to invest in the provision of silos, irrigation facilities among other capital investments.

Mr. Tetteh, who is in-charge of Loans and Advances at the ADB was speaking at a symposium on: "Financial Institutions and Accelerated Wealth Creation", at the 56th Annual New Year School, being organised by the Institute of Adult Education of the University of Ghana, Legon. It was on the theme: "Wealth Creation for Accelerated National Development: Imperatives and Challenges".

Mr. Tetteh said the ADB had lost substantial capital through loans to farmers, mainly through the erratic nature of the weather and post harvest losses.

He said the intensification of research into agricultural extension services and promotion of agro-processing were some of the means of increasing agricultural income to boost wealth creation.

He noted that the use of mobile banks and other innovative savings products was necessary to raise the needed capital for generating wealth.

Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, Chief Executive Officer of Databank, said every developed economy had a vibrant stock exchange, which is fundamental in breaking the poverty cycle.

He called for attitudinal change among bankers in order for them to understand the sociology of the people to build the necessary trust before making credit facilities available.

Mr. Ofori-Atta said wealth creation was not about big banks but how individuals utilised their resources to increase productivity. "My prayer is that we should evangelise the more for more people to know how the capital market can help individuals and at the corporate level."

Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Chief Executive Officer of Unique Trust Financial Services Limited, said the non-banking financial institutions were vital in mobilising wealth.

He said the non-banking financial institutions were in a better position to cater for people who are in the informal sector to build the necessary capital to do business with the traditional banks. Mr Amoabeng said government's inability to put the right institutions in place for economic growth, had given the non-banking institutions the room to explore and expand their ventures. 29 Dec.04

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