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Business News Sun, 16 Oct 2005

Credit Unions aims to promote national development

Salaga,(N/R), Oct.16, GNA - The Credit Union movement in the country aims at promoting national development through the facilitation of increased food production, job creation and improved standards of education.

In this regard, viable Credit Unions and Rural Banks can endeavour to assist cooperative farming groups at the production and marketing stages with funds to expand their farming activities.

Mr. Thomas Azuure, National Board First Vice-Chairman of the Credit Union Association (CUA) said this at the Northern Regional Launch of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Association at Salaga on Saturday.

The theme for the celebration was: " Micro-finance a tool for job and wealth creation." cooperative credit unions- making thousands grow". Mr. Azuure said Northern Ghana was capable of producing a lot of crops on commercial basis, ranging from roots to tubers, legumes, cereals and fruits, but noted that this had not been possible because of inadequate finance.

He said over the last fifty years, credit unions have chalked a lot of successes with many of its members, who had taken credit from the union being able to establish their own businesses or projects and also employing people.

Mr. Azuure appealed to the government to enact the credit union law to enhance the image and to improve the performance of credit unions to enable the association to regulate member unions to ensure that they "operate according to acceptable standards."

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Mr. Azuure said the computerization programmed of all credit unions in the country was on course with the software already installed in some societies and entreated other societies to take advantage of the software to modernize their operations.

He also announced that the construction of the CUA Training Centre at Kasoa in the Central Region was at an advance stage and would soon be available for use.

He further announced that the National Jubilee Celebration of the Association would be held at Jirapa in the Upper West Region on Saturday, October 22, adding that the CUA Board and Management had put up a conference hall and a modern office at Jirapa to commemorate the start of the concept of credit unions in Ghana and also serve as a memorial to the founder, Rev. Fr. MacNulty.

Alhaji Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister urged management of credit unions to prepare and implement attractive staff policies and conditions of service so as to motivate and maintain professionals and high calibre of staff to run the affairs of the unions to enable them to "develop and grow in the face of global technological expansion."

Alhaji Boniface noted that only 10 out of the 18 Metropolitan and District Assemblies in the region have either one or more established credit unions, whilst eight do not have any.

The established credit unions have a membership of 6,800 and made up of 3,2286 males and 2,694 females who had so far mobilised 10 billion cedis and granted loans up to five billion cedis.

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Alhaji Boniface also observed that only three workplace credit unions, namely the Tamale teachers, University for Development Studies (UDS) staff and the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) existed and therefore urged other institutions and departments to establish credit unions in the various areas.

He said the establishment of credit unions would go along way to reduce pressure from staffs demanding financial assistance from their heads of department or institutions and also reduce industrial unrest often associated with financial hardships among workers. Mr Amadu Musah the East Gonja District Chief Executive said the Assembly had transferred an amount of 1.7 million cedis from its poverty alleviation fund into an account held at the Salaga Farmers Cooperative Credit Union.

He said the amount was disbursed by the credit union as recoverable loans to a total of 273 beneficiary groups in the district adding that out the amount 94.8 million had been recovered and ploughed back into the scheme.

He said of 273 beneficiary groups only 35 of them had made attempts to repay the credit granted them. Mr Paul Atsu Fiawoo, Zonal Manager of the CUA said the Northern Regional chapter of the Association has 14 recognised unions with a membership of 6,713, savings of 7,604,603,214 cedis, loans granted to members 5,161, 531,766 with total assets standing at 8,895,750,349 cedis. Oct 16 05

Source: GNA