Graphic Business News

Investors eye banking sector

By: Maxwell Akalaare Adombila
Mr Yoofi Grant
Mr Yoofi Grant

INVESTORS from Asia, the Gulf Region and North America have started knocking on the doors of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) in search of opportunities to establish banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) in the country, the Chief Executive Officer of the centre, Mr Yofi Grant, has said.

The enquiries have been “significant” and were testament of a rebound in investor confidence in the banking sector, Mr Grant said in an interview.

He, however, added that the enquiries were yet to crystalise into actual investment that would require applications for licences from the Bank of Ghana.

Origin banks
The GIPC CEO was speaking to the paper on the response of the global community to the banking sector reforms, which ended in December and led to the resolution of nine banks, the issuance of four bonds worth GH¢10.25 billion to cover the gap between liabilities and assets of the resolved banks and the loss of jobs crudely estimated at around 4,000.

Since the completion of the exercise, the government and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) have said that the exercise had repositioned the sector as a grower driver to aid in the actualisation of the government’s economic transformation agenda.

When asked what the response of the investor community was to the exercise, Mr Grant said it was positive and cited the interest showed by investors in the sector as basis.

He revealed that “we have had significant enquiries from Asia, the Gulf Region and even from North America.”

A GRAPHIC BUSINESS checks at BoG, however, revealed that the enquiries were yet to come to the attention of the sector regulator.

A source told the paper that apart from one investor that requested BoG’s full requirements for acquiring a licence to operate a bank in the country last year, no enquiries regarding the establishment of a bank or non-bank financial institution had been made.

The GIPC is the investment promoter of the country and as such, a first port of call by individuals and institutions wishing to do business in the country.

Continue to sanitise
Mr Grant also praised the recently concluded banking sector clean up as a necessary exercise that signalled to investors that “the Ghanaian financial sector is responsive to law.”

While commending the central bank for reposing confidence in the banking sector, the GIPC CEO also appealed to BoG to continue sanitising the sector of acts that were endemic to its general weakness.

“At this moment, the important thing is to continue to sanitise the sector and set the rules clear and plain such that we do not have just adventurous investors or any money coming in, but we have people with real interest for the long term sustainability of the sector coming in,” he said.

He also advised Ghanaians to take keen interest in the banking sector “in spite of what is happening.”