THE General Manager of Wamfie Rural Bank, Mr Yaw Benneh, has suggested to the government to establish a bank for rural development to assist people at the countryside to better their lot.
He observed that such a bank, apart from helping to improve the quality of life of the people, would also hasten the pace of development in rural communities.
Mr Benneh, who made the suggestion in Sunyani, said the gesture would go a long way to stem the rural-urban migration among the youth, since the countryside would get the needed social amenities and infrastructure to make life there worthwhile.
He cited India, where the government had set up such a bank purely to speed up the development of its rural communities and make life comfortable for rural dwellers, making it a disincentive for the people to even think of travelling to the urban areas to seek non-existent jobs.
Mr Benneh added that such a bank had also been used in India for the disbursement and monitoring of the government’s micro-credit for the people, stressing that the facility could be easily replicated in Ghana, instead of channelling such facilities through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) for disbursement.
He stated that the establishment of a bank for rural development would also help stem the practice where people abused micro-credit facilities offered them by the government.
The general manager suggested that the government could also make allocation in the budget for micro-credit and channel it through the rural and community banks for the people to access and invest in ventures for the benefit of all.
Touching on the activities of the bank, Mr Benneh said micro-finance was the heartbeat of the bank and so the bank had supported people in rural communities, especially those who might not be able to access loans from the traditional banks, even if they applied.
He stated that the bank had, through its micro-finance product, assisted 2,787 people engaged in various ventures across the region, especially women who did not have the collateral or landed property to access loans from the mainstream banking sector.
Mr Benneh disclosed that the Wamfie Rural Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had collaborated in building the capacity of stakeholders of the bank in managing micro-finance.
He said the bank was one of the six banks that the UNDP selected under the Capacity Building Project and expressed his appreciation to the UNDP.
According to Mr Benneh, it was through such a programme that some key staff members had received what he called “internal and external exposure” in micro-finance in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, where micro-finance initiatives had been highly successful, resulting in poverty reduction in those countries.
He mentioned some of the bank’s operational areas as Sunyani, Wamfie, Techiman, Dormaa-Ahenkro and Berekum.
According to him, as a result of the importance the bank attached to micro-finance, it had decentralised its loan granting system to make it easy for people to receive microcredit at a lower interest rate.