THE sixth edition of the Ashanti Financial Excellence Awards has taken place in Kumasi, at which 47 institutions were honoured.
Clearly, the decision by Manhyia Palace to support the institution of an award scheme for financial institutions in the Ashanti Region was not borne out of nothing.
Financial institutions have over the years played a very important role in the development of the economy of the region. Apart from supporting businesses with credit facilities to advance their activities, individuals have also made use of their services to improve their lot.
It is said that Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region, is the hub of business activities in the country. This goes to suggest why a number of financial institutions have found it prudent to relocate to the city.
The Asantehene has persistently made it clear that he would ensure a sound environment for business to thrive in Kumasi. But to achieve this, a lot would depend on the assistance financial institutions would give to the business.
It is for this reason that the Manhyia Palace has been involved in the awards scheme to give recognition to the financial institutions and to encourage them to do more for the region.
Otumfuo himself was not present at the awards ceremony, but his representative delivered a speech on his behalf. He used the opportunity to advise financial institutions to seek innovative ways of mobilising funds locally to support national development.
The global economic meltdown has affected economic activities in the country, with the region having its share of the downturn. Consequently, Otumfuo stressed the need for the financial institutions to find ways of filling the loopholes.
The award winners were each presented with a citation in recognition of their contribution to the development of the Ashanti Region in particular and Ghana as a whole.
For the first time in the history of the annual event, there were platinum awards.
In the rural banking sector, the Atwima Kwanwoma Rural Bank was adjudged the best, with the State Insurance Company (SIC) winning in the insurance sector, while the Ghana Commercial Bank emerged tops in commercial banking division.
Other institutions that won awards included UT Financial Services in the non-bank sector, and Women’s World Banking Ghana in the savings and loans division.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the region was facing economic challenges, but noted that those were surmountable if prudent measures were put in place to address them.
He was impressed with the healthy competition that was generated in the country’s banking sector, with the emergence of the oft-described Nigerian banks.
He also stressed the need for the banks to make their services accessible to business entities and the general public.
Otumfuo, therefore, pledged the support of Manhyia for them to enable them to continue to deliver quality services to the people.
The Asantehene made reference to the recent fire outbreak in the Kumasi Central Market, and called on insurance companies to embark on vigorous education to sensitise the traders to insure their businesses.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu, said Kumasi was the hub of business in the country, and it was not surprising that many financial institutions were operating in the city.
He said the Government would continue to adopt measures that would free financial institutions to do business without any hindrance.