Rural banks call for review of corporate income tax
Mr Daniel Ohene Kwaku Owusu, National President of the Association of Rural Banks, has appealed to government to review the 25 per cent corporate income tax on Rural and Community Banks (RCBs), to enable them to carry out their Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) programmes.
He said the RCBs were key partners in national development, especially in the areas of operation and that reducing the income tax on the RCBs would also enable them to expand their operations and help increase financial services to the unbanked parts of the country.
Mr Owusu made the appeal at the launch of Seventh Rural Banking Week celebration in Accra on Tuesday. It is on the theme: “The Role of rural and Community Banks in Financial Inclusion”. Some of the activities planned for the celebration which would be climaxed on November 16 at Takoradi, include:
media engagements, community sales durbars on products and services, extension of Susu and Microfinance schemes, float and games and awareness creation efforts on the benefits of banking services.
Mr Owusu said the Rural Banking Week was instituted 12 years ago to help sensitize members of the public on the product and service offering of the RCBs and to mainstream the crucial role of the RCBs in rural financial intermediation in the country. He said the theme was chosen to bring to the fore, the critical role played by the RCBs in rural financial intermediation and the national financial inclusion agenda.
Mr Owusu said since the first rural bank was established at Agona Nyakrom in the Central Region in 1976, the rural banking network has been expanding across the country with the number of banks currently at an impressive 144 with over 850 branches, 6.5 million customers, employing more than 15,000 permanent staff.
He said the banks contribute about five per cent of the total assets of the banking industry but at the same time more than twice the total number of customers of all the 23 universal banks combined.
“This makes the RCBs the largest bank branch network and the most important micro-finance service provider particularly in the undeserved and unbanked and hard to reach areas of the country”, Mr Owusu said.
The National President appealed to government to bring on board the association deliberations on Regulatory and Policy intervention which directly affect the Rural Baking sector. Mr Owusu also commended government for the bold steps they have taken to sanitize the financial system, to help bring back the needed investor confidence.
“We are also happy that the Bank of Ghana’s clean-up exercise has successfully ended and we invite all our customers to continue doing business with RCBs”, Mr Owusu added.