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Monday, August 15, 2022

Gov’t still plans on tabling a legislation to compel banks to lend to the Agric sector – Agric Minister – Citi Business News

The Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has reiterated government’s plan to introduce legislation that will compel banks to lend more to the Agriculture sector.

He made the remark at the launch of the Agriculture Stakeholder Convening and Advocacy Platform (ASCAP) by GIRSAL in Accra.

The platform will seek to engage government institutions and private sector participants toward the identification and resolution of critical bottlenecks in agricultural finance and the agribusiness space.

Access to affordable credit remains one of the key challenges in the sector.

Despite the improvement in credit to the private sector as a whole in the past few months as economic activity picks up, the Agriculture sector in addition to Forestry and Fishing continues to receive one of the lowest levels of credit from banks in the country, receiving only 3.5% of credit to the private sector as of April 2022.

In his address at the launch of the ASCAP by GIRSAL, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said if the banks cannot be convinced to lend more to the Agriculture sector, legislation force will have to be used.

“Because of the lack of responses that we are getting from the commercial banks, I’m preparing a cabinet memo for cabinet to consider legislation for Agricultural credit in this country. I know from my work in India in the past, that these legislations exist, where for every GH¢ 100 of credit given out by commercial banks, GH¢ 20 in the case of India has to be in the Agricultural area. So we are preparing this memo because if persuasion fails then we have to legislate.”

“We see the poor level of support from the Banking sector to the Agriculture sector as the biggest challenge to the sector’s transformation in Ghana,” he added.

On his part, the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta added that financing alone will not solve the problems within the country’s Agriculture sector. He called on stakeholders to ensure a more enabling environment to support the growth of the sector.

“Finance alone will not get the job done. Without the right policies, policy coherence and an enabling regulatory environment that make agribusiness profitable in Ghana, banks and private investors will continue to be reluctant to put their money in the sector.”

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