Banks are working to grant up to ₵3 billion in loans to pharmaceutical firms or companies that would switch in critical equipment.

This is part of the additional measures commercial banks have taken to help cushion businesses from the impact of the coronavirus.

This was captured in a notice issued by the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB).

According to GAB, the Association is in the final stages of discussions the “regulator (the Bank of Ghana), the Finance Ministry and member banks to set up gross loans on preferential terms (details to be announced later) of up to GHS3 billion to pharmaceutical companies that decide to switch production lines to enable them to focus attention on critical medical equipment or to enhance the capacity of existing plants.

“The finer details shall be announced in due course when discussions are complete.”

Reducing cost of credit

The Association also noted that the banks have agreed to a general 200 basis points interest rate cut on all existing local currency-denominated loans and for all new loans to be sanctioned by member banks.

This rate cut is expected to cover not only the period of the pandemic but Banks recognise that it will take businesses and individuals sometime after the end of the pandemic to retool and restock to achieve the semblance of normalcy, “the rate cut will, therefore, cover the remaining tenor of the facility.”

Banks to hold bilateral discussions on further reprieve to customers operating in worst-affected industries.

The Association maintained that they recognise with concern the challenges some of their clients have had to go through during the pendency of the pandemic.

“…to mention a few, we note real challenges facing the airlines and general transportation businesses; hotels and other tourism-related businesses; importers/exporters and our clients who are staff of these worst affected businesses.”

 The Association added that “given the sanctity of customer/data privacy issues, Banks have agreed to hold bilateral discussions with customers who have loan exposures with respective banks so a more tailor-made solution can be agreed with their bankers” .

“We advise customers to exercise restraint during this exercise as delays may be expected as banks will be using existing lean staff on roll to begin individual discussions on loan extensions, restructuring or other solutions respective banks will proffer to lessen the impact the virus may have caused.”

Supporting  COVID 19 FUND

The Association added that banks have vote ₵10 million as a donation to support fight against the virus.

This donation will go directly towards the procurement of equipment for managing the virus, support to frontline medical staff in residence, and to ease the burden and practical difficulties some of our vulnerable citizens have to endure during this period of restriction in movement.