Mr Vincent Blaychie Essien, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ahantaman Rural Bank Limited said the imposition of the high rate of corporate taxes on rural banks was gradually affecting the operations of most rural banks in the country.
He said, per their mandate, rural banks were supposed to alleviate poverty and build up the economic livelihoods of the rural and peri-urban communities and that the huge taxes imposed on them by government could hamper their operations.
The Board Chairman who said this during the 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the rural bank called on the government to as a matter of urgency reduce the 25 percent corporate tax to enable rural banks to stay in business and continue to support the rural population.
Mr Essien said, ‘Economic indicators for the first quarter showed that 2017 would be steadily challenging, fuel prices and utility bills are relatively high. Meanwhile, deposits mobilisation continue to be at a high cost to the operations as interest rates still remained relatively high’.
Mr Essien said the nature of rural banks and the areas they operated in would require government’s interventions from time to time to sustain their growth.
The Board Chairman said, “I am appealing to government to also consider channelling through the rural banks some of the funds earmarked for projects such as the Planting for Food and Jobs, the one district one factory and one constituency one million dollar funding…At Ahantaman rural bank, we are ready to partner with the district Assemblies and all stakeholders to manage all the funds that will come to Ahanta West and all other constituencies that we operate in”.
The Board Chairman said the Bank was strategically positioned to compete favourably in the industry, “we, however, expect effective implementation of government’s new programmes as enshrined in the 2017 budget to have positive impact on the operations of rural banks.”
Mr Essien said the total deposits of the bank increased from GHC41.7m to GHC54.1m representing a growth of 29.7 per cent during the year under review.
The bank also recorded a total income of GHC18.9m as against GHC14.8 m in 2015, an increase of 28.1 percent and posted a profit before tax of GHC3.8m as against GHC3.1m in 2015.
He announced that the Bank had opened two new mobilisation centres at Wassa Benso and Twifo Praso and a cash collection centre at the Nana Hima Dekyi Hospital at Dixcove as part of the expansion process.