BoG Urged to Reevaluate Trade Rules
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FBNBank, Victor Yaw Asante, has urged the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to review some of its trade and documentation rules in order to make them relevant to the ever-changing financial sector space.
Highlighting some specific rules that need re-examination, he mentioned trade threshold – adding this rule among others was introduced many years ago and hence should be adjusted to meet current demands or trends.
“With the trade threshold, for example, you can’t transfer more than US$50,000 without full documentation and so on. Things have changed. I think the central bank has squeezed us a little bit. What it needs to do is to re-examine the rules around trade and trade documentation, because it is becoming a big issue. Some of the rules were set many years ago and we think it is time for the threshold to be re-examined, and that will be key,” he suggested.
He said this when asked by the B&FT what reforms he would like to see in the sector for 2024, during the bank’s annual health work in Accra.
He further indicated that the changes made to the primary reserve rules, which permit a banking institution to primary reserve in the currency it holds, has implications for the sector.
Mr. Asante noted that while the central bank is implementing some strategies to put people in check, those same changes are forcing others to try things outside the banking system.
“The central bank is doing very well to try and put a firm grip on how people misbehave, but sometimes in doing that people are also driven underground. So, rather, people try to do things outside the banking system, and that is not what we want,” he added.
While calling for reforms, he commended the BoG – regulator of the financial sector – for the good work done so far and the constant dialogue with regulated institutions, adding that: “We will continue working with the central bank and other relevant bodies to have a better 2024”.
Additionally, he stated that despite challenges faced by the financial sector in 2023 it remains largely sound – with most banks recording growth.
“For starters, government has done a pretty good job of managing the challenges, although other issues are still pending. I think the big one was to try and get the IMF emergency facility. Once those things were managed, it meant that the macros became slightly more predictable; and therefore, we were able to return to normal business,” he explained.
Mr. Asante concluded that the sector’s prospects for 2024 are better than in the previous year: “I expect to see a return to growth for most businesses in 2024, and banks in particular – a bit more confidence in our ability to lend and support our customers”.
Away from the central bank, Mr. Asante advocated a paradigm-shift in the economy’s structure, emphasising the importance of prioritising domestic production over imports. This, he explained, is very key to strengthening the cedi and creating job opportunities for the country’s youth.
FBNBank annual health walk
The bank set off the year with an annual walk, signifying its readiness to offer the best services to customers.
This year’s walk covered a distance of 8 kilometres, with over 200 participants starting from the FBNBank head office through Liberation Road to 37 Roundabout. The team turned to the side of the former route, and continued from there to the Ghana Standards Authority traffic-light near Shiashie and back to the FBNBank head office.
Speaking at end of the walk, Mr. Asante explained the activity’s impact on the bank’s resilience, saying: “Just as each step contributes to our physical health, every step symbolises our collective journey toward a healthier and more resilient future”.
He further stated that the bank’s performance and achievements in 2023 – such as the numerous awards received and opening of a new branch at Abeka-Lapaz – will serve as a base to build on.