Reduce lending rates – President urges banks

Accra, Oct. 3, GNA – President Nana Addo
Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday urged the country’s banks to reduce lending
rates to complement government’s efforts to maintain fiscal discipline.

He said such a move by the banks would help
create a more stable macroeconomic framework in the country and give
substantial complement to the vision of making Ghana a globally competitive
economy.

The President made the appeal when he
inaugurated the new head office building of the Standard Chartered Bank on the
Independence Avenue in Accra.

With the decline in inflation in the last 21
months from 15.4 per cent in 2016 to 9.9 per cent at the end of August, 2018,
coupled with the fall in the monetary policy rate from 25.5 per cent in 2016 to
17 per cent in 2018, lending rates, he said, should not be where they are.

“The gap between declining inflation
rates, and the Bank of Ghana’s Monetary Policy Rate, and the lending rates
being charged by commercial banks, is a gap we have to bridge.

President Akufo-Addo noted that, although
private sector lending had improved from GH¢28.9 billion from November 2016 to
GH¢34.4 billion in June 2018, the current average banking lending rate of 27.5
per cent was strangulating the private sector.

“I have said that I am a man in a hurry.
I am in a hurry because the Ghanaian people are in a hurry to see an
improvement in the quality of their lives.

“If we are ready to give an impetus to
the private sector to lead the socio-economic transformation of our country,
lending rates must come down, and they must come down urgently,” he
stressed.

The President noted that the financial sector
was a crucial building block for the private sector growth and national
development, urging the banks to consider themselves as government’s
active  partners’ in the quest for a
robust and prosperous economy.

“If we are to put this country onto a
path of progress and prosperity, and, thereby, guarantee our future, the
private sector and, indeed, citizens, will have to own the economy and be its
main driving force.

“The role of banks, to this end, is
critical. When banks do not become mere profit-making enterprises, but see
themselves as active partners with Government to build a healthy and stronger
economy, then we would be making significant progress.

“If Ghana’s economy is to thrive and work
for every citizen, then it should be relatively straight-forward, for anyone,
who has an innovative and viable idea, to be able to access lines of credit and
bring that idea into fruition.

“Together, I want us to believe in our
capacity to build a modern, developed, progressive nation, and free ourselves
from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and handouts.

“We can, together, build a new Ghanaian
civilization, where there is fair opportunity for all, where hard work,
enterprise and creativity are rewarded, where there is an abundance of decent
jobs with good pay, where there is a dignified retirement for the elderly, and
where there is a social safety net for the vulnerable and disadvantaged. We can
do it,” the President said.

GNA

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