The President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr Joseph Obeng, has announced that the first-ever traders’ bank will take off sometime next year.
Speaking to Business24 during the government’s presentation of an amount of GH¢2 million (¢2,029,000) as emergency financial support to victims of the July 5, 2021, Makola fire outbreak, Mr Obeng said: “We commend the bulk of the savings that we do in the country, and yet we do not get the benefits thereof. The mainstream banks are taking it all from us, and now an arrangement is far ahead for us to also establish Ghana Traders Bank. The Ministry [of Trade] has given us consultancy. We are going to formalise the ‘susu’ kind of loan and make it innovative so that we can give loans to ourselves at affordable rates.”
He added: “Sometime early next year, we should see something because now the consultants have put everything in place and very soon it will be launched.”
Explaining further, he said: “The traders want something much more to trade with. They want a mainstream commercial bank that is affordable, and that is what we are discussing with the Minister.”
The specialised bank will deal with the challenge of high-interest rates that faces Ghana’s informal traders.
The Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) informal sector constitutes the majority of businesses in Ghana.
Unfortunately, most informal traders lack access to finance and other credit facilities, leaving them with no option than to rely on informal credit companies.
The Minister of Trade, Alan Kyerematen, said the Ghana Traders Bank will provide competitively cheap loans for Ghanaian traders.
Speaking to the trading community at the Central Business District of Accra, he said such an ambitious intervention was long overdue.
On the financial support to the fire victims, he said it was to mitigate the effects of the disaster on the traders and help them revive their businesses. The money will be disbursed through Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG) to the victims.
The Minister underscored the important role trade and commerce play in the economic development of countries and restated the government’s commitment to supporting traders and small and medium-scale enterprises.