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Functioning Economy requires vibrant financial sector - Bartels

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Accra, Oct 27, GNA - Mr. Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative (PSI) observed on Thursday that a vibrant and responsive financial sector was one of the major requirements of any functioning economy.

This recognition, he said, were manifest in government's programmes aimed at assisting with the improvement of the private sector. Mr. Bartels made the observation when he formally opened the Tema Business Office of the Standard Trust Bank Ghana Limited, in Tema. The branch is the third business office of the bank after the Head Office and the Accra Central Business Offices since the formal opening of Standard Trust on January 19 this year.

Mr Bartels said government was currently implementing the Financial Sector Support Programme (FINSSP) to assist with the reform of the national financial sector.

He was quick to remark however that, in spite of measures by government to improve the private sector, it still faced a number of challenges from the financial sector.

The Minister mentioned very high borrowing rates, low rates on savings accounts and the slow pace of commercial banks in moving their rates downwards in response to the prime rate of the Bank of Ghana as some of the challenges.

While urging banks to reduce their lending rates, Mr. Bartels pledged his ministry's preparedness to work with the banking community in evolving schemes which would be geared towards assisting the development of Small and Medium Enterprises into larger and more vibrant enterprises.

Mr. Kobina Quansah, member of Standard Trust Bank's Board of Directors, commended it for succeeding in changing the face of banking in the country within its short period of existence. The change, Mr. Quansah said, had been by way of introducing the revolutionary standard cashless account to permit the those who are not actively involved in the banking system to also participate in banking, thus causing a lot of banks to drastically reduce their account opening balances.

Mr Obeahon Ohiwerei, Managing Director of the bank, urged corporate entities as well as individuals in and around the municipality to take advantage of its low initial deposits and do business with the bank. Mr Ohiwerei announced the opening of the Kumasi branch by the end of next month.

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