Spio-Garbrah (middle) holding the SADA Investment Guide
Minister of Trade & Industry, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has kicked against high interest rates charged by financial institutions in the country.
According to him, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operating in the country, especially those in the SADA region, cannot survive on 30-100 percent interest rates.
Dr Spio-Garbrah, who made this known at the launch of Commercial Agriculture and Investment Guide in Accra, said he had formed an expert group to write a report on the cost of credit in Ghana.
“Even though it should not have been the responsibility of my ministry I have had to create an expert group on the cost of credit in Ghana so that they can write a report,” the Minister said.
The report, he said, which is almost ready would be submitted to cabinet by the end of the month for certain very important policy decisions to be taken.
Mr Spio-Garbrah said Ghana has failed to learn from the U.S and other European countries that have maintained low interest rates, stating “we are importing everything into this country except low interest rates. It is a matter that is very peculiar because we import rice, sugar, maize but we can’t import low interest rates.
“In fact in a country like Canada it is a crime to increase interest rate beyond a certain amount that has been prescribed. But here it is a free for all yet we are a poor country that needs the lowest interest rate.
“In the United States when they increased interest rate by 0.25 percent it became a big deal because they have not increased rate for seven years. There are countries where you have negative rates below zero in the Northern countries,” he said.
By Cephas Larbi