The Association of Rural and Community Banks have called on the Finance Minister to review banking laws to allow state and private institutions to transact banking business with their members in their districts of operation.
The Director of Asubonten Rural Bank, Dr Nana Owusu-Afari believes the law in its current state has stifled the progress of rural banks across the country.
Last year, government closed 1,985 of its accounts with some banks across the country in order to operate a single account treasury with the central bank.
This, Nana Dr Owusu-Afari who doubled as the chair for the 7th Banking Week celebration by the Association at Worawora in the Volta/Oti regions, said is taking a toll on institutions and the rural banks in the country.
According to him, it’s discriminatory and retrogressive to the financial inclusion agenda.
“The time has come to draw government’s attention to a major challenge our rural banks face. Government hospitals and schools have to travel a long distance to the nearest commercial bank to transact business when there is a rural bank just in their community,” he stated.
He called on the Finance Minister to review this decision, saying “Even the management of a small hotel in our community has to travel to Jasikan to pay the Social Security contributions at GCB. All these travels impose a lot of costs and risks to the establishment in the communities.”
In a speech delivered on behalf of the Oti Region Regional Minister, Kwesi Owusu Yeboah, by the DCE of Biakoye, Madam Comfort Attah, he called on Rural Banks should seriously begin to consider acquisition and merger to meet the Central Bank’s capitalisation in the utmost interest of their shareholders and directors.
He stated that the proliferation of fraudulent activities within the banking sector, in general, has brought to the fore the need to evolve the necessary strategies.
The Minister said this will help “curb this disturbing menace which poses an operational risk to the survival of rural and community banks.”
The Banking Week Celebration hosted by Asubonten Rural Bank was centred on financial education and inclusion of children.
As part of activities, the organizers held a quiz competition for the basic schools in the region which was climaxed at the durbar with Springtime Educational Center in Worawora.
Winners took home a trophy, cash prizes and other educational materials.
Kings Presby School, Future Graduates Academy and Anglican JHS were all honoured after proving their prowess in the quiz on financial matters in the rural bank space.