Business News of 2014-03-12

Fidelity Bank seeks approval for additional capital

One of the fastest growing indigenous banks, Fidelity Bank Ghana Ltd, is seeking approval from the Bank of Ghana for a GH¢130-million additional capital it has raised through private placement, the Managing Director, Mr Edward Effah, has said.

He said details of the additional capital and what it was intended for would be made available after the bank got the nod from the central bank.

Fidelity Bank, which has seen phenomenal growth since it acquired a universal banking licence about seven years ago, currently has 50 branches in different parts of the country and plans to increase the tally to 100 in three years. The bank has just introduced agency banking, smaller representative banking suits in partnership with shopping malls, grocery shops and other businesses that work with the bank to deliver simple banking to the doorstep of the public.

Economy

Speaking in Accra Tuesday at the Graphic-Fidelity Dialogue on the ‘State of the Ghanaian Economy’, Mr Effah, co-founder of the bank, said the stability of the economy was key to businesses, as well as investors, foreign or domestic.

The breakfast meeting was organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited and sponsored by Fidelity Bank in a joint attempt to bring policy makers, politicians and the private sector together to discuss thorny issues on the economy and proffer solutions.

The dialogue had come in the wake of a large fiscal and current account deficits and ballooning public sector wage bill which had combined to exert pressure on the public purse. Statutory funds such as the District Assemblies Common Fund, the Ghana Education Trust Fund and the National Health Insurance Scheme have been in arrears for several months.

Hard decision

The effect on the public purse has forced the government in recent times to take some hard decisions such as removing subsidies on petroleum products and utility tariffs, as well as hikes on some tax rates.

“Those of us from the private sector want to see non-partisanship, stability macroeconomic environment, growth and depth in the economy. But sometimes, we see too much NDC-NPP in everything. This is why we want that to change,” Mr Effah stated.

Mr Effah explained that during the roadshow to raise the additional capital for the bank, the investors also expressed concern and wanted to be sure about the future of the economy any more than they were interested in the bank itself and its future plans.

“From the point of view of a business with over 500,000 customers, we see how the economy affects all our customers, be they NDC or NPP. We also see how people in various segments are affected by the economy”.

Mr Effah bemoaned the huge gap between the business community and politicians, including confidence in the economy, taxation, deficit, fiscal policy, cedi depreciation, and added that “we thought this will bring the business community and politicians together to dialogue.”

Quarterly dialogue

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Ltd, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, said the dialogue would be quarterly and geared towards the development of the country.

“For us in Graphic, as members in the media, we believe we should not just report the news, but be active agents of change in all spheres of national life,” Mr Ashigbey said.

He expressed the belief that it was the responsibility of all to come together to change the fortunes of the country.

“The transformation will happen only if we take the height of leadership and drive the change. Foreign investors will come and leave if the fundamentals are not right. But as Ghanaians, we have nowhere to go so we have to build the economy together,” Mr Ashigbey said.

Source: graphic.com
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