The Ghana Association of Bankers has announced a GHS3 billion specialized loan package to support pharmaceutical companies operating in the country, as the coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on businesses.
According to the Association, the pharmaceutical sector is a critical component in the fight against COVID-19, hence the need to assist the sector.
The Association has already announced a GHS10 million support to the national fight against the pandemic for the procurement of equipment, support to frontline medical staff in residence, and to ease the burden and practical difficulties faced by vulnerable citizens during this period of restriction in movement.
The Association in a statement noted that, the loans will be given to pharmaceutical companies that agree to produce critical medical equipment to aid in combating the Coronavirus.
“GAB is in final stages of discussions with our regulator (the Bank of Ghana), the Finance Ministry and member banks to set up gross loans on preferential terms (details to be announced later) of up to GHS3 billion to pharmaceutical companies that decide to switch production lines to enable them focus attention on critical medical equipment or to enhance capacity of existing plants. The finer details shall be announced in due course when discussions are complete,” the statement noted.
Banks cut interest rate by 200 basis points to mitigate impact of COVID-19
The Association has also announced a cut in its benchmark interest rate by 200 basis points to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 on businesses and individuals. The 200 basis points reduction in interest rate translates to a 2 percent reduction on bank loans.
They have also agreed to hold bi-lateral discussions with customers who have loan exposures with respective banks so a more tailor-made solution can be agreed with their bankers.
In addition to the above interventions, the Association “entreats customers during this period to switch to available digital banking platforms to enable banking halls of banks to handle limited banking services, as most fees on digital and other alternate banking channels have either been scrapped during this period or significantly reduced so customers do not have to make financial decisions on whether to switch to an alternate platform or not.”
They further stated that “during this period of medical crisis with significant economic implications, the Ghana Association of Bankers will do whatever it takes to make the transition as less painful as possible. We will continue monitoring news updates from official sources and will update you should the financial implication mitigation plans change.”