The Board Chairman of EximGuaranty Company Limited, Mr Felix Ntrakwah, says Exim is not in competition with the financial institutions but are collaborators and should work together for the benefit of SMEs.
He stated that financial institutions operated in an economy where the adage ‘the language used to contract a loan is different from that used to pay back the loan’ made lending very risky and therefore urged Exim and the financial institutions to share the risks.
He encouraged financial institutions to take advantage of security offered by Exim’s credit guarantees to overcome the difficulties inherent in recoveries in the case of defaults.
Mr Ntrakwah said this at a workshop which was organised by EximGuaranty for financial institutions in the country on September 30, 2014.
The workshop was held on the theme: “20 years of guaranteeing credit for SME Ghana: Repositioning Exim as a critical partner in financial intermediation for national development.” The workshop was organised to enable Exim to engage its priority clients to appreciate its core business, procedures and guidelines, as well as legal terms and conditions and together, develop strategies to grow the SME market in Ghana.
Key focus areas of the workshop were the operations of Exim and the legalities involved in guaranteeing credit.
Mr Ntrakwah said SMEs played a crucial role in the development of the economy and therefore urged financial institutions to partner EximGuaranty to assist them.
The Managing Director of EximGuaranty, Mr Zac Bentum, in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS, said SMEs constituted the bulk of economic activities in the country, contributing about 70 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.
He said SMEs provided the greater part of employment in the country; therefore the need to assist them.
“Exim has therefore been positioned to share credit risk with financial institutions in order to increase SME sector access to loans and long-term credit to release the potential of the SMEs for economic growth,” he said.
He said Exim has been very active in the last 20 years but has realised that patronage from the banks were very low.
“We want to improve on that. As we meet and discuss, it is our hope that we will all be on the same path to assist SMEs,” he added.
Mr Bentum said Exim would look at the issues that had been raised at the workshop and address them in order to grow SMEs in the country.
Twenty-one representatives from various financial institutions including Access Bank, Ecobank, NIB, Barclays Bank, Stanbic Bank, Fidelity Bank, Royal Bank, Sahel Sahara Bank, UT Bank, Zenith Bank, Unibank, Prudential Bank among others attended the workshop.
Participants had the opportunity, during the open discussion session, to ask probing questions which were competently answered by the resource persons – Mr Anthony Dwumah and Mrs Priscilla Budu with some support from Mr Zac Bentum. There were interesting ideas and suggestions for Exim to consider as it strengths its market position. Participants completed a post-event questionnaire for purposes of gauging brand awareness and service quality of Exim.