Ecobank Ghana has reiterated its continuous support to stakeholders in the maritime space by providing solutions to their financial needs.
According to the bank, it will ensure facilitation of payment, safekeeping of money, and provide financial support with investment made in technology and other means.
Ecobank Ghana with its working capital stream and asset finance believes stakeholders could have a dependable shoulder to lean on.
Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana who doubles as Regional Executive Director for Anglophone West Africa, Daniel Sackey was speaking at the maiden edition of Ecobank Shipping Forum at Tema.
“We are well aware that freight forwarders face issues such as inflation, trade wars, sanctions, and the rising cost of shipping not leaving out Ghana’s economic challenges resulting in the Debt Exchange Programme. The bank is offering smart financing solutions that provide quick access to working capital and asset finance at competitive rates and on flexible terms for qualifying clients”.
He was quite particular about decline in trade volumes and how this could impact on the businesses of stakeholders.
Dan Sackey was also optimistic the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could help generate new streams of income to make up for the shortfall.
“How do we make sure that we tap into what it offers, that we are able to also work with you to improve capacity, improve our ability to deliver products so that these new markets come to replace existing ones. So gradually, we’ll all be moving away from import dependency to export”.
Ecobank Ghana has in place measures to support all players in the maritime industry to make the continental free trade beneficial to businesses with its Single Market Trade Hub.
“AfCFTA would increase trading across borders, creating new opportunities for stakeholders, businesses, and how Ghana’s desire of becoming a logistics hub in West Africa could be realised with growing infrastructure especially at the sea and airports”.
The current economic challenges and other hurdles in the maritime space are breaking the backs of some players.
But Ecobank Ghana sees the need to continue proffering financial solutions to ease the burden of these stakeholders in maritime.
These solutions seek to address liquidity gaps, improve turnaround time for cargo handling, among other benefits.
Regional Head, Cash Management and Client Access for Ecobank Ghana and Anglophone West Africa, Sandra Asiedu-Ansa said Ecobank’s Omni Plus, Omni Lite, online, mobile app and mobile wallet solutions facilitate transactions for all users.
“So the Ecobank one-stop shop solution is our unparalleled banking solution that has been designed for the players within the maritime sector, leveraging on our robust technology and strategic network of 64 branches pan Ghana”.
With these plans in place, Ecobank is looking forward to improving turnaround time when it comes to making cargo related payments, cutting cost associated with payment and saving time to avoid demurrage.
“These will facilitate the ease of doing business at our ports in Ghana and also supporting the various actors that’s the shipping lines, port handling terminals, as well as the government collection agencies to be able to receive cash on time and do business”.
Acting Head, Corporate and Investment Banking, Ecobank Ghana, Johnson Oware described the event as watershed moment engaging thought leaders, regulators, and other players to shape the future of maritime in the country.
“ Over the last two decades, we have been very dominant in the maritime sector because we’ve invested in infrastructure and the IT systems and dedicated resources for the sector”.
“This time, we are taking it to the next level of providing the required financing, the required cash management, and payment instruments that will ensure that the industry will continue to thrive in spite of the challenges,” he continued.
Head of SME, Commercial Banking at Ecobank Ghana, Kingsley Adofo explained solutions to address liquidity gap in the maritime space.
“So specific to working capital, we are able to support them, bridge that liquidity gap between the payments they receive from their importers and also their payments they have to make to the statutory authorities”.
Meanwhile, the bank also has solutions relating to asset financing to take care of transport needs of stakeholders.
The panel discussion moderated by founder and Chairman of Cadesmee International Company Ltd, Adam Imoru Ayarna unearthed issues confronting the likes of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Shippers Authority, Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Maritime Authority, among others as the sector deals with the impact of Covid-19.