“Ghana Must Change”; Otumfuo States
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has stated that the focus of Ghana must be shifted to development to help change the current state of the country.
“Ghana must change”, he told the Board of Directors of the Development Bank Ghana (DBG) during a courtesy call on November 30.
The delegation included Dr Yaw Ansu, Board Chair, Mr K. Duker, CEO, Dr Prince J. Adjei, VP – Risk, Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, VP- Economics, Mrs Jocelyn Emma Ackon, Director of Human Capital.
Also were Ms Sheba Safo-Adu, Head of Communications and Investor Relations, Angela Tagbor, Manager Communications, Barbara Anawonu Wricketts, CEO’s Secretariat and Nii-Okai Nunoo, Consultant.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Dr Yaw Ansu shared the vision and mission of the Bank with the King.
“DBG is designed to be a key instrument in supporting Ghana’s economic transformation to an industrialised and prosperous Ghana beyond aid.”
“DBG’s mandate is to provide a new norm and medium and long-term finance to Ghanaian business in manufacturing, agribusiness and high-value services particularly, in the tech sector and tourism.”
He explained, “BDG is a wholesale bank. This means that we don’t lend direct loans to businesses. So if you are a business you cannot come to DBG and ask for funds. What we do is we seek resource long-term capital at a very reasonable rate and we provide it to the Banks, we send the guidelines, and the banks choose their customers- it has to be manufacturing or agribusiness. We provide the money to them at reasonable rates… What we hope to do is to bring this long-term finance so DBG can lend up to about 10-15 years….When we lend to the banks, the bank has to bear the full risk of repayment.”
Mr Ansu also recounted how Otumfuo played a role in inspiring DBG.
“This is a goal that I know Otumfuo is passionate about. Over a year ago I was lucky to listen to him talk about “Ghana Beyond Aid” for Ghana. I was so impressed and I was so touched. The DBG hopes to be able to make sure that his passion is met.”
On hearing them, His Majesty expressed confidence in the board and counselled them to have a clear cut mandate.
“You must understand how you will be contributing to economic development. This will help us deal with our fiscal upheavals. As we sit here, many of our citizens import rice and that will not aid our development. I hope you as a development Bank capitalise on making the country self-sufficient and export-based.”
Listing some development finance institutions in Ghana that have veered from their mandate, Otumfuo advised the Board not to lose focus.
He noted that the failure of DBG will mean “Ghana has failed”.
“If you fail at this, it will mean Ghana has failed because I don’t think you should sit and watch it turn into a commercial bank. You must be able to go out to source funding, do your feasibility and programme it in such a way that you can defend it and then bring the funding home so that you manage it.”
He added, “Work on serious development policies…If you have to do infrastructure, go out there, get the money, do the roads, and put a toll on it. (For instance) We want to do an inland port but there is no railway connection. How do you do it?- that’s infrastructure and that is development. Why can’t you get GPHA to commit to how many tonnes of loads they get and use that to guarantee them a loan so that they can use the loan to build a railway. So if they record 300 tonnes each day that the railway is going to cart, that is enough funding. So you space it out with the cost of the railway line. These are things we should prioritise.”
He pointed out that “you cannot do everything. If you set yourself aside to produce rice, at the end of the day within the next five years you have to make sure that if we are importing 300 tonnes or 100 tonnes you reduce that to save Ghana. “
Source: opemsuo.com/Hajar Fuseini