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Monday, January 17, 2022

Financial Services Authority Advocated

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To curb the exploitation of Ghanaians by banks in the country, the Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben North, Hackman Owusu-

Agyemang has called for the establishment of a Financial Services Authority (FSA) and a Financial Ombudsman.

FSA, he explained, would regulate the financial services market as well as exchanges by promoting efficient, orderly and fair financial markets while the Ombudsman’s main task would be to settle complaints.

He made these remarks on the floor of Parliament yesterday.

Currently, the independent Bank of Ghana (BoG) regulates the financial sector, but the MP was optimistic that the FSA would make government the main regulator of the financial services industry.

The FSA is normally established by government to set standards for operators in the financial sectors. It can also take action against firms that fail to meet the required standards.

Hon. Owusu-Agyemang revealed that the FSA would be established by an act of Parliament to make it accountable to the public, industry and government.

He informed the House that the advocacy was in reference to President J. E Mills’ state of the Nation’s address in which he appealed to the parliamentarians to join in the management of the economy.

“Ghanaians and Businesses are being short-changed, by the banks and other financial institutions,” he said.

On the inadequacies of the financial sector, he mentioned that the Central bank lacked the authority to guarantee the interest of ordinary Ghanaians.

He therefore proposed the establishment of a regulatory mechanism that would enforce equity and fairness as well as a resolution mechanism to settle grievances.

Hon. Owusu Agyemang, who bluntly cited the modus operandi of the Monetary Policy Committee, stated that BoG has no moral authority to play the role of a fair and unbiased regulator of the financial sector.

“Why is the prime rate set at 18.5 percent while the base rates of banks in the country are between 29 percent and 30 percent?” he asked.

He told the House that a letter had been sent to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, requesting for the establishment of the two bodies for the effective regulation of the nation’s financial sector.

“There is an urgent need for an effective regulatory mechanism to give a voice to the voiceless,” he said.

Justice Joe Appiah, MP for Ablekuma North, stated that the financial market in Ghana is not  regulated well, adding, “Perhaps that is why more foreign banks are moving here.

The cost of doing business which is very high as a result of the soaring lending rate and unemployment rate would soon sky rocket as businesses would collapse.”

Anthony Osei Akoto, MP for Old Tafo and former Deputy Minister of Finance hinted that the Ministry of Finance under the previous government drafted a bill that was modeled after the UK tradition. “Liberalization of the system is not helping and there are many lop holes that should addressed,” he observed.

Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communication and MP for Tamale South, gave the assurance that the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning would collaborate with the Attorney-General to introduce a bill to establish the institutions.

By Emelia Ennin Abbey

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