The Association of Rural Banks (ARB) Ghana has appealed to government to help retrieve funds of its members locked up during the financial sector clean-up.
According to the association, retrieval of these locked-up funds in excess of GH¢450 million will unleash the full potential of the rural banking sector to support the nation’s economic development.
Speaking at the 22nd Anniversary of the ARB over the weekend in Koforidua in the Eastern region, the Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank Plc, Alex Kwasi Awuah said the banks are at a dead end.
Mr. Awuah said all engagements they have had with the relevant stakeholders have not yielded any positive results.
“Another critical challenge to the resilience of our banks is the intertwined issue of the locked up funds and distressed banks, stringent provision requirements have led to the technical erosion of capital of some of our banks. We submit once again to the government to help in the resolution of this matter. We’ve been talking to NTAC, and it appears that NTAC doesn’t have the money to give to us. They don’t even have the collateral to support us in any arrangements we want to have, and so we are at a dead end. We are saying that government should help us to get these monies back, and it’s the government that will help to do that. So please, the [Eastern Regional] Minister is here, I hope that he will get our message to the powers that be,” he said.
On his part, the Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong speaking on the theme “The Role of Rural Banks: Growing Resilient RCBs in the Contemporary Ghanaian Economy” also appealed to the rural banks to lend to farmers to improve the agric sector and boost food security of the country.
“I’m glad to note that most of our RCBs are doing well by lending to support cocoa farmers in their catchment areas. Please maintain your momentum in that direction, in order to grow the income of our farmers and also increase their yields,” he urged.
The license of a number of financial institutions were revoked by the Bank of Ghana in 2017 during the clean-up exercise in the banking sector.
Some of the banks were asked to merge with others, and Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited was birthed.