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Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday commended the Bank of Ghana (BoG) for establishing the Office of Ethics to reinforce effective regulatory measures, describing the move as priceless for the public good.
He said the Government would support any initiative or policy aimed at consolidating the gains made so far in reforming the banking sector.
He said it was prudent for the BoG as the Regulator to ensure incorruptibility and due diligence in its dealings, in order to build public confidence in the banking business.
He applauded Dr Ernest Kwamina Yedu Addison, the Governor of the BoG, for the yeoman’s job and leading the crusade in cleaning up and sanitising the banking system, saying that it was a difficult exercise, it’s a public service to protect over GH¢1.2 billion of depositors funds.
The BoG in the past 12 months liquidated seven banks for various regulatory infractions and created the Ghana Consolidated Bank to manage the assets and liabilities of the defunct banks as well as protecting the depositors’ funds.
Vice President Bawumia gave the commendation when he opened the 22nd Annual National Banking Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB), Ghana, in Accra.
The Vice President was of the view that effective regulatory regime was crucial in sanitizing the financial industry, noting that, the passage of the Banks and Specialised Deposit Taking-Institution Act, Act 2016, (Act 930) paved the way for reforms to deal with regulatory inefficiencies in the banking sector.
Key among the reforms are: Effective Corporate Governance, Purchases and Acquisitions, Risk Management, Liquidity Management, Annual Certification of Banks Directors, Strengthening of the Internal Process and Procedures to Ensure Fairness, Transparency and Guard Against Imprudent Management of People’s Deposits.
The event was held on the theme: “Building Confidence in the Banking industry in Ghana”, which afforded the opportunity to bankers to examine the banking industry, particularly the Banks and Specialised Deposit Taking-Institution Act, Act 2016, (Act 930) and ramifications of the banking sector.
Vice President Bawumia said the nation needed a regulatory arsenal and tools that could detect change, early warning signals of moral hazard behaviour in the banking industry to safeguard public funds, efficiency, accountability and transparency, and risk mitigation.
To that end, he said, in a few weeks, the President would announce the formation of Financial Stability Council and Fiscal Council to oversee the management of the country’s public finances.
This, he said, would bring all the major financial regulators together to share information to ensure better financial management and help resolve the regulatory arbitrary in the financial sector.
Dr Bawumia, making reference to the theme for the conference, said it was timely and appropriate in view of the important role confidence played in the financial system.
In sharing his perspective on the intangible asset “Conference”, Vice President Bawumia defined “Confidence” as a deep trust in personal relationships, work environment and homes, describing it as priceless asset in the banking industry.
He said banks existed primarily as intermediary between the lenders and savers and borrowers and spenders, therefore, bankers’ role was to take deposits from lenders or savers and grant loans to borrowers or spenders.
He noted that the banking business was not that simple because it was characterised by symmetric information flow between depositors and bankers on one side and bankers and borrowers on the other side.
Therefore bankers must manage the relationships to invoke confidence in all stakeholders, noting that, confidence is a fragile asset that could easily be defied if not managed properly, the Vice President observed.
Vice President Bawumia urged bankers to ensure macro-stability in depositors’ funds and observe strict adherence to the moral foundation of banking ethics and guard against moral hazard behaviour.
He said the rationale of Banking Regulation was to address the issue of safety, stability of financial institutions and the financial sector as a whole, saying that regulatory measures largely ensured diligence and responsibility as well as soundness of ethical behaviour of banks.
Mrs Reverend Patricia Sappor, the President of the CIB, Ghana, in her welcoming address, called for the promotion and safety of the banking sector to ensure stability of the financial system and protection of the depositors’ funds.
She urged banks to develop appropriate cardinal protection policies to ensure confidence in the banking sector and, thus, assured the Institute’s commitment to that cause.
“As an Institute we’re committed in ensuring that our members demonstrate the highest standards of ethical behaviour and professionalism in the discharge of their duties,” Mrs Sappor stated.
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