Mrs Mona Quartey, Deputy Minister of Finance, has said the non-bank financial sector play a critical role in building a strong and viable financial sector for the development of the national economy.She said they remain a key source for the mobilization of the much needed short and long term funds for national development, by financing productive activities in the economy, adding that they also contribute immensely to addressing the unemployment problem and poverty reduction generally.Mrs Quartey was speaking at the launch of SIC Life Savings and Loans Company, the newest addition to the SIC family, on Thursday in Accra.She said SIC Financial Services had transitioned from a finance house to a Savings and Loans company after five years of its introduction.She said the financial sector has become highly competitive with the entry of new banks and it is important to ensure the stability of the banking system to meet the development needs of the underserved and ‘unbanked’ population.Mrs Quartey said a growing number of policymakers and governments have recognised the urgency of financial inclusion and have made the promotion of inclusive economic growth a priority.She said in Ghana access to formal financial services has increased by 41 percent since 2010 resulting in a decrease in financial exclusion. However, 25 percent of Ghanaians remain excluded from any form of financial service.She said government was committed to partner with the private sector to work towards socio-economic transformation and expand opportunities for all by continuing with the fiscal consolidation process with the view of creating an improved business environment as well as re-positioning the economy to proactively deliver support to the private sector.“Private investment is a critical source of long term capital for spurring sustained economic growth and diversification while promoting innovation by supporting the micro, small and medium sized enterprises.”She commended the company for steadily increasing its foot prints in Ghana’s financial sector and urged them to use the experience gained as a finance house to contribute to the stability of the financial sector as well as the economic development process.Dr Nashiru Issahaku, Second Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana (BoG), said SIC Life Savings and Loans Company, is the first Savings and Loans Company to be launched in 2016.He said the industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the financial sector of the Ghanaian economy and with a clear indication of growing competition, SIC Life is expected to be more creative and innovative to survive the competition.He said banking business involves risk taking, whiles capital on the other hand provides the buffer for absorbing loses that would arise as a result of failed risks.He urged the company to continuously assess their risk profile especially when expanding and venturing into new activities in order to put in place the appropriate measures to mitigate associated risks.Dr Issahaku urged players in the industry to make the necessary effort to deepen financial intermediation through rapid introduction of innovative instruments and products to suit the needs of customers who are becoming increasingly knowledgeable and demanding.“I will like to assure stakeholders in the industry that the BoG would continue to monitor events in the industry including the progress and performances through effective supervision. We shall correct, reprimand or sanction those who stray and in like manner support and encourage those who are doing well”, he said.Mr Richard Appietu, Managing Director, SIC Life Savings and Loans, said the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of SIC Life Company Limited and was incorporated in 2010 as a finance house to provide credit facilities to the Sika Plan policy holders of its parent company.He said six months ago the company received approval and license from the Bank of Ghana to operate as a Savings and Loans company.He said the company is introducing a new set of financial solutions including customer asset and equipment finance, personal and business loans, fixed term investment, savings and current accounts, money transfer among others.Mr Appietu said the company aims to be a dynamic, leading edge and responsive company that high performing individuals would want to join and other companies seek to copy.He said it would also provide the under-banked the opportunity to save and have access to their money when they need it.He thanked shareholders for their trust, as well as management and the entire staff for the hard work, and stakeholders for contributing towards making the vision of the company a reality.

Credit: GNA