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20.12.2005 General News

Corruption Could Keep Investors Away

By Graphic
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The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Standard Chartered Bank, Mr Ishmael Yamson, has called for renewed impetus in the fight against corruption as a way of boosting investor confidence.

He said the various allegations of corruption might not be true, but could build up enough negative perception about the canker and scare away investors from the country.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic after a dinner organised by the board of the bank, Mr Yamson said the biggest challenge now was how to dissolve the perception through responsible behaviour.

He said it was wrong for corruption to be limited to monies changing hands, adding that there was also the corrupt mind and corrupt behaviours that could go a long way to disrupt socio-economic development.

“It is wrong for us to limit corruption to only when you pay somebody money for undue favour. No, if you say things that are untrue, it is corrupt behaviour,” the board chairman stressed.

Mr Yamson said a lot of work should be done to sustain the economic stability, especially at the micro level, since that was the level where most investors had difficulties.

He said in the coming year, efforts should be directed at achieving long term economic stability since that was the main ingredient for transforming the economy from a low income status to a middle income level.

Mr Yamson said the focus should also be at the micro level to eliminate or reduce the frustration investors had to go through to get established.

Such a long term stability, he said, was also important to achieve investor confidence, saying that “if we can not assure investors of long term stability we will not get the desired investments to grow the economy at the pace that will reduce poverty.

He said stability at the macro level was good but was not enough, arguing that you could have a stable macro economy and still not grow well because the micro level could have demotivating factors to scare investors.

“To me two things are very important: to ensure growth at the higher level which means more investments and continuous stability, and secondly to pay more attention to micro level stability to avert the frustrations,” he stated.

On the operations of the bank, Mr Yamson said Stanchart was issuing preference shares of approximately $10 million which will provide the bank with strong capacity to scale up trading and deliver on a cross-section of new propositions in the coming year.

“The capital base of every business is dependent on the kind of deal one could undertake,” he stated, adding that the additional funding was also to meet new statutory and regulatory capitalisation requirements.

He said the bank needed more understanding of the small and medium scale enterprises sector so as to help them better.

“Seeing the direction our market is going, this is one imperative we cannot afford to allow to fail. Next year will be a major test for us, to ensure that we deliver on our ambition with respect to this,” Mr Yamson stated.

He said next year, Stanchart would deliver on the strategic imperatives the bank had set for itself to remain the leading innovator in the banking industry in the country.

Stanchart's Chief Executive Officer of the bank in charge of West and Central Africa, Mr Ebenezer Essoka, said the bank would do everything possible to support the economy to grow.

He said the focus would be on the most productive sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, general infrastructure, telecommunications and roads.

Mr Essoka said those were the things that made the difference and positioned the country as an attractive place for investment.

“We will work in partnership with the government to ensure that the country's objectives were achieved,” Mr Essoka assured.

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