Business News of Wednesday, 15 March 2017
The Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, has assured President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of the Bank’s support for the growth and development of the critical sectors of Ghana’s economy.
He said investor confidence in Ghana was rising, following the pro-business and pro-private approach taken by the government of President Akufo-Addo. This, coupled with policy initiatives announced in the 2017 budget, is making Ghana the investment destination in the region.
“We are very happy about all of this, and we would like to associate ourselves with your government and support you to succeed, both in banking and in other sectors of the economy,” he said on Monday when he called on President Akufo-Addo, at the Flagstaff House, to congratulate him on his victory in the December 2016 elections.
With UBA engaged in other ventures such as real estate, hospitality, oil and gas, and the generation of power, and with 30 branches in Ghana, Mr Elumelu noted that the bank was currently the biggest generator of electricity in Nigeria.
He also recounted how, during the era of the Mahama administration, UBA supported government to the tune of $1.1 billion.
The UBA Chair indicated that the Bank was prepared to support government realise its vision of one District, one factory, as this would help in boosting the country’s revenue generation.
“Africa lacks economic independence, and people like you, Mr President, can provide the new hope for Africa and we will stand by you. You have in us willing and capable partners who are proud and happy to identify themselves with you,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo on his part, expressed his gratitude for the visit of the UBA Chair, stating that “we are all in admiration of the work you’ve been doing, not just concentrating on Nigeria, but, looking beyond the borders to countries like Ghana and beyond”.
With UBA being the first Nigerian Bank to set up in Ghana, during the era of President John Agyekum Kufuor, largely as a result of the positive business atmosphere created in the country, President Akufo-Addo noted that he was keen on recreating a pro-business climate in Ghana to spur on development.
“We came in because the economy of our country had taken a nose dive, and there was the need for a new direction. Our first task is to revive our economy, and put it on the road to growth and expansion. It is only by growing our economy that we can solve the problems of our economy, principally youth unemployment.
“We want to grow our industry and our agriculture, and have a solid financial system that will support the growth of these two sectors,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo noted that “UBA is the kind of partner that we are looking for to assist us in the delivery of our vision and mandate”.
He gave the assurance that neither his government nor his appointees are in office to compete with business men, reiterating that “they are in office to facilitate and increase business confidence in Ghana, and, by that way, develop the country rapidly”.
The President continued: “The Ghanaian private sector is the way forward for us. Our first budget has pointed the way we are going to handle the private sector. We have removed the many impediments there are for businesses.
“We want to signal to the private sector that we mean business. We are counting on UBA to have a good understanding of where we are going, and be in a good position to fund some of these critical developments in industry and agriculture.”
Sounding optimistic about the Ghana’s future, President Akufo-Addo told the UBA Chair that “we want to build a Ghana beyond aid. We are tired of being beneficiaries of handouts and charity. We want to be able to stand on our own two feet and deal with our issues ourselves”.