Stanbic Bank Uganda's 2016 pretax profit rose 24.9 percent, helped by business diversification that spurred a increase in non-interest revenue, the east African nation's largest lender by assets said on Wednesday.
The bank, part of South Africa's Standard Bank and listed on the Uganda Stock Exchange, said pre-tax profit rose to 253.9 billion Ugandan shillings ($70.33 million) in 2016, up from 203.3 billion the previous year.
The bank said a diversified business model had helped them absorb economic shocks and underpin growth.
"This is the major reason why our revenues and earnings have grown," the bank said in results published in local media adding that non-performing loans in the industry caused by weak economic activity.
Uganda's banking sector non-performing loans stood at 10.5 percent in December, up from 7.7 percent in September, according to central bank data.
The results showed the bank's income from trading in foreign exchange, government debt and other trading activities climbed 28 percent last year from 2015.
A dividend of 1.172 shillings has been recommended for the year, the bank said.
($1 = 3,610.0000 Ugandan shillings)
Mr. Ibrahim Awal, Minister for Business Development says government is targeting to increase Ghana-India trade from the current US$2billion to US$6 billion in favour of Ghana within the next four years.
"Government is seriously working to increase bilateral trade business with India from US$2billion to US$6billion in the next four years." he said.Indian investments in Ghana is approximately US$1billion and between 2009 and 2010 the total bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to US$537.5 million.
Between 2013 and 2014 the figure rose to US$1.2 billion. While India exports to Ghana amounted to US$830 million in 2014, Ghana exports to India amounted to US$370 million.
Indian exports to Ghana include capital goods, pharmaceuticals products, cotton yarn, fabrics, machinery and instruments. They also comprise of sugar, glass and glassware, ceramics, transport equipment, paper and wood products.
Ghana however exports gold, cocoa, bauxite, manganese ore, diamonds, Timber-mainly teak, cashew, fruits and nuts, metal ores and scrap.
Speaking at the World Trade Centre Accra's India Business Day event themed: “Promoting India-Ghana Business Relations through Trade and Investment,’’Mr. Awal appealed to the Indian Authorities for a collaborative approach to effectively execute government's 'One District, One Factory, 'policy.
Mr. Awal pledged government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive since the sector constitute a key component in the country’s economic growth.
He indicated that government is working on improving on the country’s framework to remove any bottlenecks that hindered private investors and give opportunity to expand their businesses and employ more people.
He said Ghana and India had a long relationship in the area of industrialization, energy, health and education and expressed the hope that the partnership would continue to enhance their mutual benefits.
He said government had established a national entrepreneurship and innovative plan to drive local business ownership and equip Ghanaians with the needed creative skills to create jobs for themselves.
Mr Awal indicated that the Small and Medium Enterprises play a critical role in creating jobs for the citizenry and, as such, government had put in place fiscal policies to reduce the high cost of doing business and stimulate economic growth.
He said government had set up an Industrial Development Fund to support critical private sector industrial initiatives, as one of the means of tackling the rising unemployment levels.
Mr. Awal said Ghanaian businesses faced significant challenges in exporting or importing goods at the ports, and as a result, government had reduced fees and charges at the ports to ease business transactions.
“Government has introduced reforms in port clearing systems and benchmark our ports against some of the best in the world such as Dubai and Singapore, and make our ports some of the most efficient in Africa to support import and export,’’ he said.
India High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Birender Singh, explained that the partnership with the country would not only deepen the friendly relations between the two countries but would also deepen economic co-operation and collaboration.
He indicated that India had been supportive to the country’s economic growth over the years through lines of credit and grants amounting to US$ 230 million.
He said the Ghana-Indian development partnership had stretched half a billion dollars and listed some of the projects and financial support given to Ghana to include areas such as water supply, agriculture and lines of credit.
“India has a philosophy to support the socio-economic development of other countries it our commitment to further develop the relation by finding new areas of cooperation. India will continue to work with the country to overcome the global challenges that confronted the two nations and the rest of the world,” Mr. Singh said.
Mr. Emmanuel Doni Kwame, the Managing Director of WTC Accra, advised the Indian business community to continue with the capital injection into the country’s economy andendeavor to invest in some of the key economic sectors.
He said the Centre brought together businesses and government agencies involved in international trade to provide essential trade services, missions and market research to stimulate economic
Mr. Bright Awuye, Director of Research at the WTC making a presentation on the 'Structure of the India Bilateral Trade with Ghana' advised government to embark on vigorous investment and trade promotions and add value to the country's lesser known commodities on the international market.
He urged Indian investors operating in the pharmaceutical sector to prioritize their portfolio under the One-District One-Factory policy or any other initiative to help grow the country's economy.
Source: Ekow Essabra-Mensah/thebftonline/Ghana