Press spotlights effects of macroeconomic conditions on banking sector, others

The report that the current macroeconomic conditions are spilling over to the banking sector and the inauguration by President Akufo-Addo…

The report that the current macroeconomic conditions are spilling over to the banking sector and the inauguration by President Akufo-Addo of the 300- bed capacity block at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra for young soldiers of the Ghana Armed Forces are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Ghanaian Times reports that there are emerging signs that the current macroeconomic conditions are spilling over to the banking sector, Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has said.

“Profitability levels have declined alongside other financial soundness indicators. The latest macro prudential risk assessments indicated increased pressure on solvency and liquidity of banks ahead of the implementation of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme,” he said, after the 110th regular meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the BoG in Accra on Monday.

He said to moderate the potential impact on the sector, the BoG had announced some regulatory reliefs for banks to help preserve financial stability, including the decrease of the Cash Reserve Ratio from 14 per cent to 12 per cent and reduction of the Capital Adequacy Ratio from 13 per cent to10 per cent.

Dr Addison said in addition to the Financial Stability Fund, the BoG would provide financial support to the banking industry to meet their liquidity needs.

He said developments in the banking sector were broadly reflective of current macroeconomic conditions, with rising cost of credit due to inflationary pres¬sures, and revaluation-driven balance sheet performance.

“As a result, the performance of the sector moderated in December 2022 compared with December 2021, with some key Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs) recording significant declines,” Dr Addison, who is the Chairman of the MPC, said.

He explained that profitability levels in the banking sector had declined, driven by the mark-to-market losses on investments, higher impairments on loans, and rising operating costs.

Dr Addison stated that profit-after-tax of the banking sector at the end of December 2022 stood at GH¢3.9 billion, representing 18.9 per cent contraction year-on-year, compared to 12.3 per cent annual growth recorded in 2021.

The newspaper says that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday, inaugurated a 300- bed capacity block at the 37 Mil­itary Hospital in Accra for young soldiers of the Ghana Armed Forces.

The facility, funded by the Jospong Group of Companies, would address the accommodation needs of the GAF and help its personnel undertake their duties effectively.

The 300-bed accommodation project was started in 2016 through the internally generated fund of the 37 Military hospital command, but stalled in 2018 due to lack of support until Jospong financed the project in 2021.

The President also inaugurated a three- storey office complex for the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) at the Burma Camp in Accra to accommodate the CDS, his deputy and other staff.

Completed in November, last year, through a public private part¬nership, the facility has 50 office spaces, conference and meeting rooms and is equipped with an information and video conferenc¬ing system.

The inauguration of the facili¬ties heralded the 2022 end of year party for the GAF which brought together the rank and file of the GAF, representatives of sister security agencies and government officials.

Earlier, President Akufo-Addo also cut the sod for the con¬struction of 2, 000 housing units for three garrisons in Accra, Tema and Sekondi-Takoradi to be completed within 24 months; a 95 room general office headquarters admin¬istration block and fence wall project.

He also inspected work on the Cardiothoracic Centre Project at the 37 Military Hospital being constructed by the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Ken Agyapong and also handed over vehicles to the GAF.

Speaking at the inauguration of the CDS, President Akufo-Addo described the facility as a befitting structure for the GAF given the important role it played in the country’s security.

He said the new projects and the completed ones were testament of the government’s commitment to retooling the GAF and the security services to enable them execute their duties effectively.

He said the government would continue to provide the logistical needs of the GAF in fulfilment of its dedication.

The Graphic reports that Samaritan Angels Limited an entrepreneurial focused agency has launched a GH¢ 10 million initiative to support small business owners and workers in the formal and informal sector.

The project dubbed “I AM INVESTIBLE” kicks off with an initial amount of GH¢3million.

Applicants, according to the company, are entitled to a maximum amount of GH¢50,000 once they successfully complete the process to access the funds.

Beneficiaries will include traders, artisans, and entrepreneurs whose businesses are expected to be impacted through the initiative meant to transform their operations.

At the launch of the initiative in Accra on Monday, interested entrepreneurs were entreated to apply for the funds by paying a processing fee of GH¢150 and 250-word pitch or video of their particular business that needs funding.

A panel of judges whose expertise are in various fields of entrepreneurship and business will ascertain the credibility and entrepreneurial skills of each participant after which successful applicants will be granted the funds.

The managing consultant of the project, Angelina Diyouh Minski noted that the project provided the needed small grants and technical support, training and mentorship and business advisory services to applicants who patronised it.

“Samaritan Angels Ltd which is pioneering this project is a social enterprise, focused on accelerating the growth of small and growing businesses to contribute to sustainable development in Ghana,” she added.

A member of the board of Samaritan Angels, Nana Yaw Amponsah who is also the CEO of Kumasi Asante Kotoko entreated Ghanaians to apply for the funding through the initiative to better their lot and sustain their business.

The newspaper says that more than 4,000 Burkinabes, and some Ghanaians, have fled to seek refuge in Ghana following attacks by suspected terrorists and militants in Burkina Faso.

The refugees, mostly women and children, have fled from trouble spots in Burkina Faso, namely: Bugri, Zouga and Asongo, to seek asylum in the Bawku West District in the Upper East Region.

They are currently living in communities such as Adasiga, Soogo, Agoogo, Kperigu and Kperigzousi in the Soogo Electoral Area, while others are residing in areas such as Natinga, Googo, Weari, Kanlesi and Fulbes in the Widnaba Electoral Area.

Some of them are living in some communities in the Akasooga Electoral Area too.

More than 1,000 of the refugees are living in the Soogo Electoral Area, 1,773 are currently living in the Widnaba area, while 1,325 are staying in the Akasooga Electoral Area.

The large number of refugees has put undue pressure on food and social amenities in the areas, a development which continues to be a source of worry for the local people and needs urgent attention from duty bearers.

The Assembly Member for the Soogo Electoral Area, Atampuri Osben Asaki, told the Daily Graphic in an interview yesterday that the situation in the area was serious and needed urgent attention.

Majority of the refugees are currently living with local community members, since the people on either side of the border are largely related by tribe.

Others who could not be accommodated in the homes of the local people are compelled to live in uncompleted buildings and makeshift structures, a development which has exposed them to the vagaries of the weather.

Sadly, some children, including newborn babies and their nursing mothers, sleep in the open, especially during the day, due to the unavailability of homes to accommodate them.

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