BY BENJAMIN TANDOH
FORMER MINISTER of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, has called for a clear vision and strategies to ensure that majority of Ghanaians enjoy financial services.
The former Governor of the Bank of Ghana expressed his displeasure about the huge number of the citizenry who are outside the financial system, adding that expanding financial services to the rural areas was the surest way of reducing poverty.
Speaking at the 38th Management Week celebration of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) yesterday, which was on the theme ‘Finance and Insurance for Inclusive National Development,’ Dr Duffuor said “expanding financial services to a large number of people, especially those in the rural areas where over 60% of the population are affected by poverty, is one surest way of promoting development and reducing poverty.”
He was of the opinion that an inclusive financial sector aimed at inclusive national development could generate positive externalities to the government, explaining that this would contribute to job creation and macroeconomic stability.
“Financial inclusiveness is measured by the level of the people’s access to financial services. Improved access to financial services strengthens financial sectors to domestic resource mobilisation and can therefore make a significant contribution to social and economic development.
“However, in Ghana, our financial services are only available to a few people. The many reforms undertaken in the banking and insurance sectors were, among other objectives, to facilitate the rapid involvement and participation of the citizenry, both as service providers and as users,” he stressed.
He further indicated that, “it is regrettable, therefore, that huge chunk of the populace still find themselves outside the financial system.
Access to financial services is so poor that there remains a group of unbanked people in Ghana.”
Highlighting the cause of the low participation of the populace in the banking and insurance sectors, Dr Duffuor said lack of such elements as trust, financial education, digital literacy and willingness of parties to share data had contributed to the problem.
He expressed his displeasure about the difficulties that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) face in accessing credit and other financial services.
According to the former Finance Minister, SMEs are dynamic job creators and expressed the hope that stakeholders in the industry would focus on the sector when discussing finance and national development.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro-Owusu, urged business schools to fashion out ways to train job creators rather than job seekers.
Prof Oduro-Owusu commended UGBS for its role in training business-minded people to help in the development of the country.
“In delivering its management education, UGBS, as guided by its vision to become a world class business school, has developed global leaders.
“Over the years, the UGBS has played a significant role in shaping the business sector of the Ghanaian economy by providing training in management communication,” he said.
The UGBS Management Week celebration is aimed at bridging and fostering a harmonious relationship between industry and academia.
It also seeks to bring together stakeholders to deliberate on strategies for harnessing the content and delivery of business education.