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Business News of Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Ghanaian banks becoming lazy - AGI boss

The president of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) James Asare Agyei believes commercial banks in Ghana are becoming lazy.

According to him, the growing appetite of banks to invest in Treasury Bills is stifling SMEs from funds to support their operation.

Currently, government borrows from the market at about 25 percent and individuals and private sector businesses access credit at a minimum of 30 percent. This has been attributed to inflation which is hovering around 16.6 percent.

The Bank of Ghana’s policy rate which largely dictates lending rates is also 21 percent. These macro-economic indicators, according to Agyei are bad for economic growth.

“AGI has persistently indicated that we need to get the macroeconomic indicators right. There is a need for macroeconomic stability to ensure that private businesses thrive and they can plan into the future,” Agyei told Starr Business.

He added: “What we are seeing now, it is very difficult for business to survive. We are talking about high-interest rate, we are talking about Treasury Bill rate which are 25 percent.

“People find it comfortable, even banks find it comfortable to really invest there making banks lazy. Instead of banks trying to lend to SMEs trying to grow, what happens is that they find the comfort in Treasury Bill - virtually risk-free instrument.”

He argued this development does not inure to the growth of the nation’s economy which is already in tough times.

“There is a need to grow the economy, we can only grow the economy when small and medium scale enterprises are supported,” Agyei noted.