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Business News Wed, 12 Nov 2008

Chamber of Commerce decries UT Finance interest rates

Accra, Nov. 12, GNA - Members of Greater-Accra Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ARCCI), on Monday appealed to management of UT Financial Service to reduce its interest rates to enable them access loans from the company.

Mr Douglas Akuamoah-Boateng, Immediate Past Chairman of the Chamber made the call at its 530th meeting, after Mr Michael Awuku, Senior Operations Officer of UT had made a presentation. He noted that the current UT charges were unbearable for most loan applicants including members.

"No business can survive under those terms - that is why the UT usually ends up selling people's collaterals to pay off loans," he said. Mr Akuamoah-Boateng said even the two per cent loan processing fee was too high and appealed to management of UT to reduce the fee and make it easy for them to conduct business with it.

Mr Awuku explained that management of UT charged eight per cent on reducing balance and not on the original sum, adding that, that came to about 27 per cent per annum and not 96 per cent.

He noted that more people kept borrowing from UT though others complained about its interest rates and modus operandi.

"When we floated shares on the stock exchanged it was over subscribed - as high as 10,000 individuals bought shares and that is a little over 100 per cent of our expectation and a sign of good business," he said.

Mr Awuku said management of UT was willing to facilitate the loans of businessmen under its 48 hours commitment, but would not compromise on repayment terms.

Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso, Chairman of ARCCI said the chamber was working around the clock to ensure that its members had access to affordable loans and market to make them competitive in the sub-region and on the international market.

The Chamber, he said, was also collating intelligence report on the credit crunch to inform strategic repositioning of its members. Nana Dankawoso said at the sub-regional level the chamber was preparing to leverage trade fairs being organised by China in Burkina Faso and Benin, which promised to reduce cost of doing business with China. Mr Clifford Mettle, Vice Chairman of the Chamber said lack of political will, many road blocks on the intra-regional trade routes, lack of a single currency were some of the bane of businesses within the sub-region. He therefore, appealed to the political leadership in the sub-region to "get serious" with removing the trade barriers and make the ideals of regional integration practical. 12 Nov. 08

Source: GNA