Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has hinted that a new National Development Bank is set to be operational from January next year.
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, all the necessary work has been completed for the institution to start operations.
Mr Ofori-Atta in the 2019 Budget Presentation announced that they have made some progress in establishing the National Development Bank, which is expected to focus on industry and agriculture.
He added that “A technical committee appointed by the government has completed its work and has proposed that the institution should be set up as a completely new institution.
The Minister said, “Government has accepted the recommendations and has set-up a project team to operationalise the recommendations to launch the bank in 2019.”
It was the initial expectation of government that this Development Bank would also have the capacity of mobilising private capital towards agriculture and industrial transformation.
The government was initially looking at merging the National Investment Bank and the Agricultural Development Bank to create this new bank.
However, based on the recommendation of this technical committee, the finance minister is now looking at creating a wholly new bank.
Structure and focus of the National Development Bank
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, the bank would create a wholesale institution that would also help fund small businesses in the country in terms of raising long term funds, adding that establishment of this institution would help deal with dedicated capital for small businesses.
He also added that they are on course with the World Bank in terms of establishing this bank.
The Finance Minister disclosed that the National Development Bank would be modelled on the lines of the National Development Bank of Germany – the KFW Bank.
But should we be worried about the government’s increasing interest in Banks in the country?
The planned operationalization of the New National Development Bank would see the government have a significant stake in some four big banks in the country – Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), National Investment Bank (NIB), Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG) and the National Development Bank (NDB).
But speaking to JoyBusiness Mr Ofori-Atta noted that he does not see the establishment of this new bank as a challenge in terms of government actively participating in the banking sector.
He said that development in most countries is that the government sets up these institutions to improve to some sectors of the economy.
“We are also hopeful that this bank would also help bridge the gap between our savings and investments needs and what structures put in to attract private sector money to develop our country,” the Finance Minister said.
Clearance of debt owed contractures to improve liquidity
The Minister also disclosed that they are making some progress in clearing verified debts owed contractors.
Some of the Banks have told JoyBusiness delays in clearing these debts is affecting their ability to give new loans to businesses in the country.
But Mr Ofori-Atta said the banks through the Ghana Association of Bankers are set to establish a committee that would work closely with the government in fast-tracking the payment of these debts.
The government also argues that the payment process has delayed because they wanted to verify some of these claims by the service providers.
Recent data put out by the Bank of Ghana still raised issues with the rising Non Performing Loans.