Techiman (B/A) Sept. 23, GNA - The Ghana Cooperative Credit Union Association (CUA) granted 262 billion cedis in loans to beneficiaries last year as against 142 billion cedis in 2003. Deposits increased from 206 billion cedis in 2003 to 314 billion cedis last year while customers increased from 132,000 in 2003 to 156,000 last year.
Mr. Emmanuel O. Darko, General Manager of CUA announced this at the Golden Jubilee Anniversary celebration of the Union at Techiman. The celebration under the theme, "Micro-Finance, The Tool for Job and Wealth Creation", was attended by 23 Credit Unions and 10 study groups in Brong-Ahafo.
Mr. Darko said 250 Credit Unions were registered in 2004 as against 240 in 2003, adding;" the growth in credit union activities in savings, loans, and membership, as well as increase in the number of credit unions had exceeded expectations."
Mr. Darko said Credit Unions had over the years assisted many people to improve on their standard of living as well as the development of communities through hard work, dedication and the desire to help one another.
He said about 650 people were employed by the Association nation-wide that included members who obtained loans and subsequently employed more people and announced that plans were underway to computerized all Credit Unions.
Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, in an address read on his behalf by Mr. Prince Yaw Donyina, Techiman Municipal Chief Executive, said Micro and Small-scale enterprise constituted a greater part of the national economy but lacked access to credits from the formal financial institutions.
Nana Seinti said the Government recognized and appreciated the positive contributions of Credit Unions to the socio-economic development of the country through mobilization of personal savings in the urban and rural areas, which were vital to generate capital for investment.
He pledged the Government's continued support to develop viable and vibrant unions to effectively play strategic role in the socio-economic development of the country.
Nana Seinti appealed to Credit Unions to intensify their efforts to extend their activities among the rural folk to make Credit Union a household name.
Mr. Charles Muonah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of CUA, said the concept of Credit Union begun in 1955 at Jirapa in the Upper West Region by Reverend Father John McNulty. He said Rev. Father McNulty a Roman Catholic Parish Priest at Wa was on trek to Sabuli, a village 24 kilometres east of Jirapa and was provided with torn six pounds currency notes destroyed by termites to be changed at the Bank of West Africa, now Standard Chartered bank. Mr Muonah said banking services were alien to the people and in a quest to have banking services extended to the rural folk, Credit Unions were established in Ghana with the first one at Jirapa. They mobilized local savings for development, changed the traditional methods of saving and instilled the spirit of cooperation among the people.
Mr. Muonah appealed to the Government and Parliament to speed up the promulgation of the Credit Union Bill. Baffour Asare Twi-Brempong II, Adontenhene of Techiman Traditional Area, said lack of financial resources was a major challenge to national development. He commended Credit Unions for their hard work not only as micro finance institutions in mobilizing savings for the formal sector but help most people who could not meet the terms required for loans in the formal sector.
Baffour Twi-Brempong advised members of the Association against using their profits on clothing, merry-making and funerals but invest in the education of their children and accommodation for themselves.