Mr John Awuah

Ghanaian banks have been forced to restructure huge loans made to businesses as part of an initiative to mitigate the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over GH¢6 billion in loan facilities have been restructured for businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, a move the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) has described as critical in helping the COVID-19 resilience and recovery for the economy.

CEO of the Association, John Awuah, told GhanaCrusader in an exclusive interview on Thursday, February 4, 2021, that member banks have a good grasp of their role in championing Ghana’s COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 sustainability.

“What we have done during this epidemic is to ensure that customers – those whose industry or sectors have been impacted significantly – have a breathing space, particularly for those who have facilities or have taken loans with our member banks,” John Awuah said.

He said the restructuring of the over GH¢6 billion worth of loans involves giving business from a wide array of sectors repayment holidays or extensions to enable them to accommodate their current COVID-19 cashflow situation.

“Another thing that we’ve done at the height of the pandemic last year was come together as an industry and decide to walk with our clients. We have reduced our lending rates from between 150 basis points to 350 basis points,” Mr. Awuah added.

Even though Ghana is among 10 African countries touted as having watered down the economic impact of the pandemic, the outcomes remain visible.

The economic impact of coronavirus in Ghana includes a major hit on the hospitality due to closure of borders and holdup in tourism and the demand for international travel.

Furthermore, there has been a significant decline in trading volumes and values in Ghana due to disruption in the supply chain across the globe.

There has also been a contraction in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows to Ghana over uncertainties.