– Targets Women in SMEs
By Kenneth Nsiah Yeboah, Bibiani
The Sefwiman Rural Bank, with headquarters at Bibiani in the Western North Region, has held its 13th Annual General Meeting and has committed to doubling its support to women in the small and medium Enterprise (SME) in its operational areas in the next financial year.
Dr. Francis Aboagye Otchere, the Board Chairman of the bank, who announced this at the meeting said, the move was intended o boost the operations of the women in SME’s in the municipality.
The Board Chairman, was optimistic that if women dominated the SME Sector, there would be an upsurge in commercial activities in the municipality with the result that more jobs would be created and standards of living improved.
He explained that the support for women, stems from a research conducted by the bank five years ago, which suggested that women were very crucial to the development of businesses in the country, especially with regard to the SME sector.
Dr. Aboagye – Otchere, added that besides supporting women in the SME sector, the bank was also strengthening its assistance to, the agricultural sector considering that it was operating an area that was largely agrarian.
A financial report released by the bank indicated that over the last three years, the bank had disbursed a total of GH¢4,758,400 to traders in the SME sector of which 74 percent were women. It said he microfinance unit of the bank had also for the same period registered 293 SME groups in its operational area cutting across the Western north an Ashanti regions.
According to the report, over the 2017/2018 financial year the bank’s total assets grew from GH¢25.51 million in 2017 to GH¢34.68 million in 2018, representing percent an increase of 36 percent. Loans and advances also increased over the same period rising, GH¢6.34 million in 2017 to GH¢10.13 million in 2018 representing a 60 percent growth, while investment also rose from GH¢13.64 million in 2017 to GH¢18.18 million in 2018 representing an increase of 33 percent.
Due to reforms in the banking sector and challenger with the national economy during the year under review, the bank’s profit dipped from GH¢889,138 in 2017 o GH¢551,000 in 2018 making a decrease of 30 [percent.
The General Manager of the Bank,Richard Kwame Adjei, assured shareholders and clients of the Bank that everything possible was being done to make sure that cash with the bank was safe, adding that tighter security measures and control were being implemented to that effect.
He also said that bank’s board and management were working very hard to come up with new products that would improve businesses and the lives of people in the Bibiani Municipality.
In the address read on behalf of the Managing Director of the Association of Rural Banks (ARB) Apex Bank, Kojo Mattah, by George K. Armour, the Ashanti Regional Manager of ARB, Apex Bank, lauded the board, management as well as staff of the bank for the gains made in the year under review.