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Regional News Fri, 5 Mar 2004

Credit Unions urge to embrace National Health Insurance Scheme

Techiman (B/A) March 5 GNA - Mr. Yaw Adamu Acheampong, Chairman of Techiman Standard Co-operative Credit Union has called on credit unions to embrace the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

He explained that the scheme, when fully implemented, would enable customers of credit unions to reduce withdrawals from their savings for the settlement of medical bills.

Mr. Adamu-Acheampong, popularly known as "Medimafo Tease" made the call at the Annual General Meeting of the Union in Techiman.

He urged members of the union to register for the scheme so they could reap its benefits when implemented and advised them not to treat their savings as bank savings to avoid over-withdrawals.

Mr. Adamu-Acheampong stated, "Too much love for money is more dangerous than murder, alcoholism and idolatry" and advised members to use loans granted them by the union judiciously.

Mr. Isaac Oppong-Manu, Brong-Ahafo Regional Co-operative Union Officer underscored the need for members to increase their share capital to 100,000 cedis to enable them to attract more interest on their savings.

He lauded the credit union concept as a mechanism for alleviating poverty and urged members to educate non-members to join to improve their financial status.

Mr. James Kesse, Techiman Deputy Co-operative Officer, in presenting the audited accounts of the union stated that the union's operating statement showed a net operating margin of 6.4 million cedis representing 4.3 per cent, which falls in line with the Credit Union Association (CUA) recommended standard of four per cent.

The union paid seven million cedis as interest on members' savings, which was far below the 23.4 million cedis that should have been paid, he said.

Mr. Kesse said the union recorded 6.404,126 million cedis profit in 2003 as against 23,454,065 million cedis in 2002 as negative operating margin.

The Manager of the Union, Mr. Thomas Opoku Yeboah indicated that the union granted loans totalling 300 million cedis to 96 members for provident and productive purposes.

The share capital of the union rose from six million cedis in 2002 to 8.8 million cedis in 2003 whilst membership increased from 534 to 600, he said and asked members to repay loans granted them to enable other customers to benefit.

Mr. Khan Y. Japkah, Secretary said the Union, which emerged from the defunct Baptist credit union had vigorously embarked on an educational programme to win back deserted customers and members. Management has also decided to put up a permanent office for the union, he added and called for the cooperation of members for the completion of the project.

Source: GNA