TOGY talks to
Investment across Ghana’s value chainOctober 5, 2018
Thomas Attah John, the managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank (Ghana), talks to TOGY about promising areas of investment in the market, the potential of the market and the outlook for oil and gas project financing. Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana is the local arm of the Nigerian lender.
• On upstream investment: “The government could, if it deems it appropriate, provide developmental funds with long-tenor and single-digit interest rates to finance local content in the upstream oil and gas space.”
• On outlook: “The oil and gas space is set to grow again. The government has bailed out most of the credit issues in that sector, so the confidence level in the financial space has improved.“
• On financing: “The economy cannot wait to have bigger, stronger banks to drive transactions in the oil and gas or manufacturing space.”
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What areas in Ghana need investment?
The government could, if it deems it appropriate, provide developmental funds with long-tenor and single-digit interest rates to finance local content in the upstream oil and gas space. On the downstream side, there are opportunities to finance the regular downstream traders for distribution.
Ghana has a lot of potential. The country is the second-largest economy in West Africa; there are many opportunities here in the banking space.
How big of a role does the oil and gas market or energy play in the bank’s portfolio?
Until the last two to three years, it was quite good, but then there was the crisis of the BDCs [bulk distribution companies] and we had to step back. However, the oil and gas space is set to grow again. The government has bailed out most of the credit issues in that sector, so the confidence level in the financial space has improved.
The oil price globally is good. Investment in the upstream side of the energy sector is being made, so this creates opportunities for banks. By the time banks meet the new minimum capital requirement of GHS 400 million, they have to put the money somewhere. The oil and gas sector is one very strong area to invest in, of course subject to all the conditions being right.
Is the deadline for the minimum capital requirement too tight?
I believe the deadline is fair. The economy cannot wait to have bigger, stronger banks to drive transactions in the oil and gas or manufacturing space, so postponing would mean delaying the benefits to the economy.
Is the banking sector very competitive in Ghana?
In terms of number, it looks very competitive, but about 90% of banking is done amongst the top 10 banks. The competition is not as widespread as people think it is.
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