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Business News of Monday, 3 April 2017


UMB Champions Gov’t policy drive

John Awuah, UMB’s CEO has vowed to make Government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ policy a dream come true

Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) has indicated that it will help government implement its ‘One district, One Factory’ transformation agenda as set out in the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

A delegation from the bank, led by Betty Zormelo, Board Chair, which recently visited President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House, made the disclosure.

The bank said it had leveraged on its solid SME banking experience to set up the UMB Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Incubator Centre solely for the purpose of meeting the needs of enterprises that seek to partner government in the ‘One district, One factory’ concept.

John Awuah, CEO/MD of UMB, stated, “We, at UMB are big on small business, and we see this as an opportunity to offer our expertise in the sustainable implementation of this transformational agenda.”

More Than Loans

According to him, the UMP PPP Incubator Centre would provide a range of services and technical support with the aid of its investment banking affiliate, UMB Capital, adding that the center will provide business plan development, financing, funds management, business advisory services, including corporate governance, business strategy, internal controls, business development initiatives, marketing and succession planning, among others.

Financing Model

“UMB may lend/or facilitate lending to enterprises through its UMB financing where it might lend to enterprises from its own account, an amount of up to US$I million per enterprise. To this end, the bank will invest a total of up to US$100 million in the centre to be availed in Ghana cedis at the prevailing exchange rate.

“It could also do so through its investment by local development finance institution where it would assist enterprises with the necessary technical assistance to enable them access financing from local Development Finance Institutions such as EXIMBANK, the Venture Capital Trust Fund, among others.

“Furthermore, it could lend to enterprises by raising funds from the capital market through the issuance of bonds, or equity investment through listing on the GAX.”

Business Concept Selection Criteria

Mr Awuah said all business concepts must be supported by the Ministries of Trade and Business Development, noting that it must also pass UMB’s feasibility assessment process.

Targets Enterprises And Groups

UMB has targeted entrepreneurs seeking to collaborate to expand their businesses through value addition, university graduates seeking an opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills, entrepreneurs with a track-record in growing and managing businesses and existing enterprises whose operations meet the aforementioned business concept selection criteria.

Promoting The Concept

The UMB PPP Incubator Centre, he said, operates from the UMB Centre for businesses and all the bank’s branches.

At the branch level, the incubator centre desk has been tasked with providing potential investors with the necessary information and assistance to apply for participation.

The relationship team would also undertake periodic field assessment to identify enterprises eligible for assistance to help them in their application.

“We are happy to support government’s creation and growth of small and medium-scale factories in all 216 districts in Ghana. It is our understanding that the concept is built on enhancing the competitive advantage of each district through industrialisation.

“However, due to the dire economic circumstance in which Ghana currently finds itself, government is limited in its ability to provide funding for this project and it shall be implemented hand-in-hand with the private sector through various Private Public Partnerships (PPP),” the CEO asserts

Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), formerly Merchant Bank Ghana Limited, until 2005, was a full-fledged merchant bank.

“Despite our diversification into retail banking with the acquisition of a universal banking licence, we have stayed true to our calling and continue to support the SME sector through financial and non-financial solutions.”