The total assets of 75 member companies of the Micro-Credit Association of Ghana (MCAG) hit GH?27,803,095.96, last year.
They also granted loans amounting to GH?18,049,267.00 during the period.
Mrs. Regina Kumi, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Association, put the number of loan beneficiaries at 12,521 and said 8,612 of them were women.
She announced this at the annual general meeting of the association held in Kumasi. It was under the theme “The role of micro-credit institutions in bridging the poverty gap in the country”.
Mrs. Kumi described the performance of the companies as impressive given the tough economic conditions of the period. She indicated that they were making immense contribution towards the fight to reduce poverty.
She spoke of the direct relationship between job creation and poverty reduction and said it was on the basis of this that they had been focusing on granting credit to micro, small and medium scale enterprises – to ensure that these businesses received the needed credit to grow and create wealth.
“To improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our country and to build a resilient economy, the role of micro credit institutions cannot be downplayed.”
Mrs. Kumi pointed out that the key to poverty alleviation was an economic growth that was inclusive. It must reach the majority of the people through improving the performance and sustainability of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
She therefore called for the government to support them with tax incentives and subsidized funding to boost their operation and help grow the private sector.
Mr. Sampson Akligoh, Director, Financial Sector Division of the Ministry of Finance, said steps had been taken to sanitize the sector, bring transparency and efficiency into the operations of the micro-credit institutions.
This, he said, was in response to growing public complaints, relating to the inability of some of the companies to pay back depositors money. He said they would go to every length to protect the interest of the country and the industry.
They were eager to see the capital base of the companies improved and the issue of multiple regulators, addressed. Mr. Philip Opoku- Mensah, Deputy Chief Manager, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Division of the Bank of Ghana, asked them to stick to best practices.
He identified weak internal controls and poor understanding of the concept of micro-financing as some of the factors accounting for the low performance of many of them in the industry.
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