From Ghana News Agency -
Government is strategizing to restructure and re-organize the Micro-Finance and Small Loan Centre (MASLOC), to enable it to effectively finance local entrepreneurs and rural agriculture.
This would also help boost that sector and facilitate the growth of the economy.
Mr Kobina Amoah, Director of the Micro-Finance Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, gave the hint on Thursday.
He was speaking at the opening of the sixth annual micro finance conference, held at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), on the theme, “Microfinance Delivery in sub Saharan Africa: knowledge sharing and policy implications”.
He said the aim of government was to promote the delivery of efficient and sustainable microfinance services, to achieve wealth creation and reduce poverty within its medium term development strategy.
The Two-day international conference, organized annually by the Faculty of Social Sciences of the UCC, is being attended by over 135 participants, including Saudi Arabia, Kenya, India, Nigeria and Ghana.
They will deliberate on a wide range of issues, including “microfinance and finance, as a strategy for financial inclusion in Ghana”, “the role of government in microfinance” and “dynamics of lending methodologies”.
“The general policy of government for the financial sector is to improve and deepen financial intermediation to serve the poor and low income populations by building an inclusive, sustainable and efficient financial system”, he stressed.
Mr Amoah however, indicated that, challenges facing the sector were myriad, among which are the lack of proper institutional arrangement in relation to coordination and collaboration, terms of credit delivery and the lack of capacity building.
He entreated stakeholders to create a common front, to enable them to share ideas to improve the micro-finance sector.
He said the Ministry was evolving measures to promote and deliver an effective micro-finance structure, as well as a financial system, to develop “a shared growth and development” in the country for the poor and low income people.
Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), said microfinance should be shifted from its traditional mode of operation of savings and loans, to a deeper sense of micro financing.
She urged all stakeholders to brainstorm and ensure effective delivery to their clientele, to enable them to reach out to a wider population.
She said the time had come for human resource capacity building in that sector within sub-Saharan Africa, to bridge the gap between the theory and practical aspect of micro financing.
She noted that the Faculty of Social Sciences’ institution of the conference was pertinent to national development.
Mr Richard Addo, Managing Director of ARB-Apex Bank, said micro financing should be geared towards raising income, building assets and cushioning consumers “for rainy days”.
He suggested that the needs of the poor, in terms of finance, should be incorporated into the national mainstream, to accelerate development.
Dr. David Obu Andah, Executive Secretary of Ghana Micro Finance (GHAMFIN), underscored the need for microfinance services to impact positively on consumers.
The chairman of the conference, Prof. Albert Abane, Dean of the faulty of Social Sciences, stressed on the importance of knowledge sharing and beckoned all stakeholders to draw up the vast knowledge and expertise of their colleagues, to ensure the success of micro finance delivery in West Africa.
He lauded the Faculty of Social Sciences for instituting the conference, which seeks to bring academia and practitioners on microfinance together, to brainstorm on best practices to move the sector forward.