Awuah: Future of Ghana’s banking sector depends on national coronavirus response

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John Awuah

John Awuah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), has said although there have been predictions about how the banking sector will look like post-coronavirus, the true picture is the one that takes into account the national response to the pandemic.

Speaking to in an exclusive interview, Mr. Awuah said the health of the banking system is the accumulation of the health of Ghanaians, “the people who contribute to the sustainability of the sector.”

Mr. Awuah said “The future of the sector depends on our response to this pandemic. And that is why we have taken it almost personally, as an industry, in our education drive to get people to understand that observing the basic protocols to this health hazard is the only thing to do so that as an industry and as a country, we can get out of the ramifications of this pandemic as quickly as possible.”

According to a report by the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the impact of the pandemic on the Ghanaian banking industry, business challenges such as economic contraction, reduction in the fee and trading income, higher credit losses, among others, present key challenges to banks.

The report indicated that banks in Ghana as a result face some of the biggest accounting challenges amidst the pandemic.

John Awuah, speaking to the media last week ahead of the launch of a GAB campaign to get Ghanaians to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol, said in the wake of the pandemic, banks have become concerned about what the banking population is doing and what they can do to support their clients.

“You can only support a client who is healthy and if the health situation of your client is not in the right place, then, of course, his business can be doing well but because of the health concerns, the business can begin struggling.

“So we advise all our clients, the banking population, and the general public that they should take the protocol that has been advertised by the Ghana Health Service and the government very seriously and ensure that we are all observing these basic protocols,” he said.

He disclosed further that, as an industry, the GAB has already issued standards to its members and is coming out with stricter standards about how member-banks should behave.

Mr Awuah disclosed further that member associations last year voted over GH¢10 million, to be donated to the vulnerable in society — that is businesses and individuals that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

 

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