The Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, has called on commercial banks to reduce interest rates to stimulate economic activity.
“Interest rates in Ghana are very ridiculous and make it virtually impossible for local businesses to compete favourably with foreign companies,” he said.
Mr Agyapong made the call during an engagement with students of the School of Business of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi last Tuesday.
Dubbed: “Practitioners’ engagement on entrepreneurship competencies”, the event, which was organised by the School of Business, in collaboration with the Kumasi Business Incubator, was aimed at providing a platform for the students to learn from industry players some of the skills and qualities needed to survive as entrepreneurs.
Mr Agyapong, who is also a businessman, indicated that most commercial banks added their profit margins to the loans they gave out, which ended up raising the interest rates.
“Many businesses have been complaining about this,” he said, adding that the high-interest rates were the reason most Ghanaian companies would rather import finished goods, instead of producing them locally.
Mr Agyapong urged the newly launched Development Bank of Ghana (DBG) to deal directly with businesses and not give the money to commercial banks for onward lending to businesses.
He said it would be better for the DBG to deal with the private sector and lend the money to that sector at a cheaper rate than pass it through the commercial banks.
According to him, the objective of the DBG of supporting the private sector with cheaper loans would not be achieved if it had to channel the loans through a third party.
Get rich syndrome
Mr Agyapong advised the youth against the rush to make it in life, adding it was important for them to bide their time.
He said becoming successful did not come overnight but required a lot of sacrifice and hard work.
According to him, to be able to succeed as an entrepreneur, one needed to be trustworthy, ambitious and hardworking.
However, he said, most of the youth today were in a rush to drive the latest cars and would do anything to acquire those things.
“Most entrepreneurs had to go through sleepless nights and years of savings to be able to be where they are today,” the MP said, and asked the students to build the culture of savings and learn to sacrifice their comfort today for a better tomorrow.
The Chief Executive Officer of Uni-jay Limited, a fashion and design enterprise, Janet Abobigu, who was a panellist on the programme, called on the youth, particularly the females, to humble themselves and learn from their peers.
She said irrespective of their levels of education and statuses in life, they would meet people who knew better than they and should be humble enough to allow themselves to be taught.
Mrs Abobigu said even though the world was fighting for gender equality, the fact remained that it was a man’s world and so women should not go about trying to rub shoulders with men and trying to prove that they (women) were better.
According to her, women should be able to use their feminism to get men to carry them along to let women’s work speak for them.
The entrepreneur explained that it was not possible for the youth to do everything; what mattered was to have ideas, the necessary support and finance, adding: “You get people to make your ideas work for you.”
She reiterated the importance of trust in business, saying it was the only currency that sustained businesses.
She said if one could not be trusted, it would be impossible for people to do business with him or her or even for one to get credit to expand one’s operations.
Therefore, Mrs Abobigu called on the youth, particularly those willing to go into entrepreneurship, to always honour their promises.