A Gh¢2.5million one-storey office complex for the Berekum Area Teachers’ Co-operative Credit Union (BATCUU) has jointly been inaugurated by the Omanhene of Berekum Traditional Area, Daasebre (Dr) Amankona Diawuo and the General Manager of the Ghana Co-operative Credit Union Association (CUA), Mr Emmanuel Oduro Darko at a ceremony at Berekum.
The office complex was financed with contributions from members through buying of more shares and part of the union’s net surplus declared at the end of every financial year.
The inauguration of the project coincided with the 12th annual general meeting (AGM) of the union.
Delivering his report at the ceremony, Mr Yaw Assuah-Yeboah, the Board Chairman of BATCCU, called for the passage of the Credit Union Bill that had been in Parliament for more than a decade.
He stated that when the bill was passed into law, it would protect credit unions and facilitate their operations as well, adding “the passage of the bill would further strengthen the operations of credit unions in the country in their resolve to reduce poverty among the populace.
Mr Assuah-Yeboah said during the year under review, the union embarked on an educational drive to rope in more members both teachers and the community at large, resulting in an increase of its membership from 1,500 as of June, 2008 to 2,500 as of June, 2009.
He stated that the members’ total savings also increased from Gh¢551,103 to Gh¢767,025 during the same period while the total assets grew from Gh¢800,395.54 to Gh¢1,060,424.17, representing an increase of 32.48 per cent.
The BATCCU Board Chairman said the total shares of the union grew from Gh¢62,897.64 to Gh¢74,722.
He, however, stated that the Gh¢50 worth of shares per member was woefully inadequate to serve as a capital base for such a big society, which was undertaking an economically viable project.
According to Mr Assuah-Yeboah, during the year under review, a total of Gh¢882,425 was advanced to members to meet their financial needs which included education, business, agriculture, housing and medical expenses.
He, however, noted with concern that despite the affordable interest rates and the most flexible terms of payment the clients got from the union, some individuals who benefited from the loans had refused to pay, and therefore, advised such people to reconsider their stand.
Mr Darko, the General Manager of CUA, commended the union for its foresight to construct a permanent office complex for its operations.
He stated that credit unions were co-operative financial institutions established to offer people the opportunity to have access to financial services in a self-determined manner.