By Konrad Kodjo Djaisi

The Executive Director of Ghana Mineworkers Union Investment Limited, Robert Asamoah Gyekye, has said that the union wants to help build strong small and medium enterprises, improve businesses and create employment, hence their venturing into the savings and loans business.

Known as the Golden Pride Savings and Loans Company, Mr. Asamoah Gyekye said the Union would like to help in the financial mediation process because a large majority of Ghanaians are unbanked.

?We want to complement what other banks are doing so that we can reach out to the vast majority of Ghanaians who are unbanked,? he said at the inauguration of the first branch of Golden Pride Savings and Loans Limited at Obuasi last week.

Mr. Gyekye added that this is the first time a Savings and Loans Company or bank will have its headquarters in a district capital outside Accra or Kumasi, and the significance of having the headquarters outside the national capital means it is close to the main shareholders — that is, workers in the mining communities.

?Obuasi has got more than 100 years of mining experience and the people should feel that they are getting something for their investment and the efforts that have been put in the mining sector over a century ago,? he said.

Managing Director of Golden Pride Savings and Loans, Johnson Boadi Asamoah, said effective intermediation requires that banks and savings and loans institutions mobilise all available financial resources and deploy them to income-generating economic activities.

?Financial institutions must expand credit to the productive private sector to support domestic and international trade,? he stated.

He noted that although there has been some increase in real credit in the last few years, small and medium-scale enterprises still have difficulty accessing credit.

Available data from the Registrar-General, he said, indicate that 90 percent of companies registered are micro, small and medium enterprises, and this target group has been identified as the catalyst for economic growth.

He observed that a major barrier to the rapid development of the SME sector is not the shortage of both debt and equity financing, but rather a limitation on the part of SMEs to embrace modern business concepts and culture.

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