Banks could be compelled to lower cost -BoG Governor hints

The Bank of Ghana has indicated that it might be compelled to force commercial banks to reduce their expensive charges for services if the banks do not take the steps themselves.

Governor, Dr. Kofi Wampah dropped the hint when he gave address at a dinner to mark the 25 year of existence of ECOBANK Ghana.

According to the Bank of Ghana, interest rates is currently at 23.49%.

It has become a source of concern for businesses and government. The Trade Ministry is considering putting together a taskforce to address the high cost of doing business in Ghana.

High interest rates starves businesses of funds to expand.

At a conference organized by the Ministry, renowned economist Kwame Pianim also recalled that when he worked at the Finance Ministry in the ’70s, interest rate was 7% and inflation rate was 3%.

“Is it believable in Ghana now?” he wondered.

According to the governor of the Bank of Ghana, it is unfortunate that despite all attempts to encourage the banks to reduce their cost of services, it is more expensive today to engage commercial banks.

But Group Chief Executive of ECOBANK, Albeit Essien disagrees that the banks are to be blamed for the high cost of services.

“When you have to run 24hours plus on disel how do you do business”

He argued that banks are facing serious challenges because of the persistent power crisis.

“Banks take the shape of what happens in an economy. In a high-cost based economy, banks cannot be that cheap”, the CEO continued.

He was optimistic that if the cost of doing business comes down, the banks will have no option than to reduce service charges.

“It has happened before”, he said.
The CEO also suggested that high service cost could be informed by the excellent service quality in some banks.

He maintained that “good service attracts a premium”.

Meanwhile, speaking at the Dinner to mark 25th Anniversary of ECOBANK, in speech, Mr. Essien noted that, the phenomenal growth of Ecobank across Africa cannot be told without reference to ECOBANK Ghana.

Ecobank Ghana has proved to be a good training ground for many young men and women who having joined Ecobank Ghana as young officers, saw and seized the opportunities that existed in the Group and are today occupying various senior positions in the Group including Country Managing Directors, Group Heads and other important positions, the CEO noted.

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