The University of Ghana Business School launched the maiden edition of the UGBS-Alumni Practitioner Forum on the 11th of October, 2017 at the British Council auditorium. The session was dubbed “Emerging Issues in the Ghanaian Banking Industry”. The event was aimed at bringing industry experts to give firsthand and practical knowledge on issues ranging from banking law, capital, growth mechanism of financial institutions and financial growth.
In his welcome address, the Dean of UGBS, Professor Joshua Yindenaba Abor mentioned the objectives of the forum as creating a platform to engage with alumni, sharing knowledge and contributing to policy discussions. He also expressed confidence in the panelists as they have in-depth knowledge on the theme under discussion.
Speaking on behalf of the UGBS Alumni Association, Rev. Ogbarmey Tetteh congratulated the Business School for putting together the event. He believed that the dialogue and ideas generated from the programme will not just be talk-shop but will have an impact on the economy.
The moderator of the event, Mr. Bernard Avle, expressed his joy for being a part of the programme. He also pointed out how good it is to live in an age where topical issues can be addressed in a short span of time. Mr. Avle introduced the panelists to the audience by reading their profiles out. The panelists constituted Dr. John Mensah, Managing Director, ADB; Mr. Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, Former Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana (BOG) and Prof. A.Q.Q. Aboagye, Department of Finance, UGBS.
In his introductory speech, Dr. Mensah revealed that the banking industry is supreme in Ghana as compared to other countries on the continent. He attributed the failure of some financial institutions to their automatic migration from microfinance institutions to mainstream banking.
Professor Aboagye on his part, mentioned how the stress test he conducted of the banking sector revealed that majority of the problems faced by banks are due to the rate of over-concentration of loans in particular sectors of the economy. This he said leads to non-performing loans, and subsequently bad performance.
“Getting a license to operate as a financial institution from the Bank of Ghana puts the institution under its regulations,” opined Mr. Asiedu-Mante. “These regulations ensure that banks are able to run smoothly and consumers can get access to their money whenever they need it,” he added.
There were mixed reactions from the panelists as to which stakeholders in the banking industry contributes significantly to financial crisis. Whereas Mr. Asiedu-Mante was of the view that management and board are to blame as they handle the operational activities of the bank, Dr. Mensah on the other hand posited shareholders have more influence as they hold majority of the capital required for banks to operate. Professor Aboagye, on his part believed that the board is in charge as they set the rules and as such must be blamed.
The panelists agreed that the increase in the capital reserve requirement by the BOG was a step in the right direction as it will strengthen the banking industry. Addressing issues on whether or not the banks can raise the capital before the deadline, the panelists once again agreed that banks in Ghana have what it takes to meet the requirement.
In their concluding remarks, the panelists observed that there are prospects for the banking industry adding that financial institutions must evaluate their capabilities and operate in the fields where they can thrive. They also asked the general public to have more confidence in the banks. The event was attended by the general public, faculty, alumni, students and members of the press.
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