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29.08.2005 Business & Finance

New policy on micro-finance to be out soon


Accra, Aug. 29, GNA - The MicroFinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) said it would soon introduce new policy that would stem the haphazard operations of Micro-finance institutions. The policy would be a blue print to provide direction and regulation of the workings of the institutions.

Dr John Agyekumhene, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre, addressing Ecumenical Church Loan Funds (ECLOF) African Regional Workshop said the broad policy would provide instruments and directions on products, savings and deposits, registration, certification and licensing among other things to enhance and give a new impetus to delivery of micro-finance services.

Ecumenical Church Loan Fund (ECLOF) is a not-for-profit ecumenical organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland. ECLOF's mission is to provide fair credit for human development in witness to the Christian faith. Dr Agyekumhene said under the proposed policy the various micro-finance institutions would be classified and categorized according to their types and levels of development as well as minimum performance standards required of each category.

Besides, entry and commencement of operation of the institutions would only be allowed when the minimum requirements demanded of the type of institution were met.

The measure would offer the institutions the opportunity to graduate progressively.

Dr Agyekumhene stressed that the instruments being developed were not meant to stifle the operations of Micro-financial institutions but to rather enhance their healthy growth and progress.

"It will definitely permit need-based approach to be taken in determining the appropriate institutional and capacity support that each of them requires as well as provide relative consistency in assessing their respective performances," he said.

Dr Agyemkuhene said the policy once completed would be subjected to discussion and inputs from the various stakeholders to arrive at a workable document that would serve the needs of all.

He expressed the hope that the discipline and incentive that would be engendered in the operations of the institutions through the Blue print would inspire them to higher levels to enable the sub sector to grow. He called for effective coordination and collaboration among the institutions to avoid duplication of roles and waste in the allocation and distribution of resources.

They should also adopt innovation and flexibility in their approaches to service delivery to respond to local situations and demands. Government set up the National Micro-finance Centre now known as MASLOC in 2004 for the judicious administration of government and development partners' funds flowing into the sub-sector.

Ms Glady's Ghartey, Head of Micro-finance, Ministry of Finance, stressed the need for setting specific targets for poverty alleviation and economic development since that was essential to ensure that the poor and vulnerable benefited from such assistance.

Mr Muhungi Kanyoro, Director of ECLOF International, said because poverty knew no religion it was important that the organization reached out to everybody, who was in need irrespective of one's religious inclinations.