News & Events
Executive Committee Of Cua Pays A Courtesy Call On The President
The Executive Committee of the Ghana Co-operative Credit Unions Association (CUA) Limited has paid a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo on Monday, 28th June 2021 at the Jubilee House.
Led by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Honourable Ignatius Baffour Awuah, and supported by the Acting Registrar of Co-operatives, Mr. Yaw Offe, the delegation from CUA which consisted of the Executive Board of Directors, headed by the National Chairman, Dr. Bernard B. B. Bingab, and the Acting General Manager, Ms. Lydia D. Kisseih, met with the President who was flanked by his Executive Secretary, Nana Bediatuo Asante, and some Aides at the presidency.
In the presentation of CUA, given by its Chairman, the Association congratulated the President on his re-election to the seat of the President of the Republic of Ghana. He also expressed the profound appreciation of the Association for its first-ever audience granted by a sitting president for such an engagement; and continued to convey their heartfelt appreciation for an over US$3.5 million grant that had been made available for CUA to acquire a Core Banking System for the enhanced operations of Co-operative Credit Unions in Ghana. He indicated to the President of their continuous engagement with the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank towards ensuring the smooth and successful implementation of the project for the benefit of the entire membership of the Credit Union Movement in Ghana.
Dr. Bingab provided an overview of CUA; explaining that it is the apex body of Co-operative Credit Unions in Ghana, established in 1968 under the Co-operative Societies Act, 1968 (N.L.C.D 252) of the Department of Co-operatives (DoC) of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, headquartered at CUA House in Adabraka, with eleven Chapter offices across the country. He gave insights into the key activities of CUA for Credit Unions including; advocacy, supervision, auditing, financial services, MIS, among other technical support services. He mentioned that CUA is member of the Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN), and affiliated to the Ghana Co-operative Council (GCC); adding that CUA is internationally a member of the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Association (ACCOSCA) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
Speaking to the Credit Union Movement in Ghana, he indicated that the Movement (with members supporting themselves through co-operation in savings mobilization and loans administration) has undergone expansion over the past decades; with collective assets currently estimated at about 2.2 Billion Ghana Cedis and a membership numbering over 850,000 in 551 credit unions; intimating that the movement has now become a well-established part of Ghana’s financial ecosystem. He specifically clarified that while other financial institutions primarily focused on providing profits to shareholders, credit unions’ purpose have been to provide service to members; making them rooted in the prosperity and quality of life of their members and communities. He was optimistic that Credit Unions were appropriately positioned as a tool for poverty alleviation and socio-economic development; supporting the government’s agenda of a “Ghana Beyond Aid”.
Credit Unions Regulation
Speaking to the state’s function of the regulation of Credit Unions in Ghana, Dr. Bingab explained that the passage of the Credit Unions Legislative Instrument, LI 2225 (2015) was among others things to: encourage greater prudence in the management of loans granted by the credit unions; ensure adequate capital; provide greater guidelines for investment activities of credit unions; and ensure more effective corporate governance system, while safeguarding the cooperative principles of volunteerism, democracy, and transparency.
He however expressed the concern of the Association that the LI 2225 has since its passage in 2015 not been operationalized; recommending a roundtable discussion amongst the Ministries of Finance, Employment and Labour Relations and the Bank of Ghana together with CUA to fashion out the best way to regulate Credit Unions in Ghana as done in other sister countries like The Gambia and Kenya.
He acknowledged the existence of a couple of laws that govern regulation of Credit Unions such as the Co-operative Degree, Bank of Ghana Act and the non-Banking Financial Act; but indicated the Association believe that these laws are multi-sectoral and therefore needed to be harmonized to make regulation effective.
Other Key Challenges Facing Credit Unions in Ghana
Dr. Bingab provided the President with some key challenges confronting the credit union movement in Ghana.
Locked-up funds – Whilst recognizing the intervention of Government, following the financial sector clean-up exercise; he intimated that the credit union movement still has a significant part of its investment funds locked-up. This according to him has led to severe liquidity challenges and burdened the operations of CUA and many Credit Unions in the country. He mentioned that an amount of over GH₵130 million of their funds had been locked-up with twenty-one (21) defunct financial institutions, while an amount of over GH₵50 million was locked up with ten (10) existing financial institutions; summing up to a total of over GH₵180 million as at 28th June, 2021. He appealed to the government to facilitate mechanisms for the Movement to retrieve all its locked-up funds.
The effects of the Corona Virus Pandemic (Covid-19) – The Association presented to the President that the COVID-19 pandemic has not spared the Credit Union Movement in Ghana; though the government continue in its efforts by instituting various protocols to keeping the it under control. He bemoaned the negative effects of the pandemic on the Credit Unions to include: high levels of savings withdrawals; high loan delinquencies; negative impact on cash flow; high operational costs; and job losses. He appealed to the President to provide the Movement some leverage by honoring its request to be considered for participation in the intervention program of the government through the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Bingab expressed the dedication of the Movement in advancing the government’s policy of job creation and poverty alleviation through financial inclusion, particularly of those that seem to be excluded in the banking space. He finally thanked the President and the Sector Minister for their commitment to the advancement of Co-operative Credit Unions in Ghana.
RESPONSES FROM THE PRESIDENT
The President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, thanked the leadership of the Movement for calling on him; indicating that such engagements were needed for nation building. He acknowledged the hard work of the Credit Union Movement in Ghana and admonished the leadership to remain committed to their mandate.
The President noted their regulatory concerns and accordingly directed the Sector Minister to facilitate the process and call for a roundtable discussion between the Bank of Ghana, Department of Co-operatives, and CUA to discuss the issue of regulation; as it is key and important to governance and development.
On the issue of the locked-up funds of the Movement; The President directed his Executive Secretary to liaise with the Receiver of the collapsed financial institutions and the regulator (Securities and Exchange Commission) to find a lasting solution to the payment of the locked-up funds.
He again welcomed the request of the Association to be considered for participation in the government’s Covid-19 Alleviation Program through the Ghana Enterprises Agency and referred same to the Sector Minister for his expeditious facilitation.
He thanked the leadership of CUA once again for the healthy engagement and their resolve to supporting government’s poverty alleviation objectives.