President of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA), Dr Joseph Obeng, has disclosed that the Association is in talks with the Ministry of Trade and Industry over the establishment of a bank for traders.
According to him, the establishment of the bank is “long overdue” and it will be launched “very soon”. Dr Obeng explained that the Association commands the bulk of the savings that is undertaken in the country, however, they don’t “benefit thereof”.
“The mainstream banks are taking it all from us. So now, arrangement is also far ahead for us to establish Ghana Traders Bank and the ministry has given us consultancy. We are going to formalize the susu, loans and put it in a very innovative way so we can give loans to ourselves at affordable rates”.Dr Joseph Obeng
Commenting on the establishment of the bank, a banking consultant, Nana Otuo Acheampong, disclosed that “it is feasible”. He indicated that this is a phenomenon that has been talked about over a “long period” as different sectors of the economy want to establish their banks.
That notwithstanding, he emphasized that, if the ultimate aim is to give interest and competitive rates to members, then it’s a “credit union” the Association has to form and not a “formal bank”.
“The interest rate factor is not something that you can fix to be out of the system. If you want to trade amongst yourself and give a special rate then it’s like a credit union that you are doing. So, we shouldn’t be confusing this sort of arrangement with normal commercial banks because we are not getting cheap interest rates from universal banks…”Dr Joseph Obeng
Mr Acheampong noted that the Association won’t be stopped in their quest to have a bank established. He noted that the “ultimate decider is the regulator”, being the Bank of Ghana, which can ascertain whether the Association has what it takes to attain a universal banking license or not.
Government supports Makola fire victims
Speaking at the handing over of some GHC 2,029,000 by Trades Minister, Mr Alan Kyerematen, to aid affected victims of the July 5, 2021 ‘Makola fire’ outbreak, Dr Obeng revealed that the fund will help a lot of these businesses.
Commenting on the financial support, the GUTA President expressed excitement over the aid given by government intended to “provide comfort” to these businesses. Dr Obeng explained that the “grant” will also help to “mitigate” some of their problems.
“So, I think we welcome it and we are very happy. Having said that [and] like the traders themselves have said, they want bigger money to trade with. Because if you look at the damages that were caused, it was so huge to the extent that this cannot at least alleviate their plight. So, they want mainstream commercial bank that is affordable and that’s what we are discussing with minister [Alan Kyerematen]”.Dr Joseph Obeng
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Kyerematen, presenting the dummy cheque to the 98 victims, stated that the overture of help from government was to support the victims get back to business.
Mr Kyerematen underscored the significant role trade and commerce play in the economic development of countries and rehashed government’s commitment to supporting traders and small and scale enterprises.
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