Accra, Sept. 05, GNA - Ghana's focus to become a major player in the global financial markets will take off on Friday, September 7, with the opening of the first offshore banking operation. Offshore banking is the provision of tailor-made banking services for non-resident, expatriates and institutions to save their money abroad rather than those in their home countries.
It offers a tax efficient environment for a wide range of savings and investment products.
The management of Barclays Bank Ghana Limited was granted a General Banking License by the Bank of Ghana to operate the first banking business under the International Banking Component of the International Financial Services Centre.
The International Financial Services Centre will have a full range of non-bank financial services and it is part of a comprehensive financial sector development programme. Ms Catherine Addo, Head Offshore Banking of Barclays Bank, told Ghana News Agency that Barclays decided to open the facility because of the safe and stable political environment, good corporate governance and sound economic policies.
She said offshore banking operations, apart from impacting positively on the country's image as an investment destination of choice, would make available a pool of capital inflows that institutions and companies could tap into to spur the country's economic development. It is estimated that about 50 per cent of the world capital inflows come from offshore banks.
Other benefits include additional revenue for government, employment creation and transfer of expertise. Ms Addo said although offshore banking could be a potential avenue for money laundering, Barclays Bank had put in place a rigorous system and procedures to ensure that such monies did not find their way into the system.
The Bank, she said, was drawing on the expertise of its staff in London and Mauritius to ensure the smooth take-off of the operations. Mr Dela Selormey, Head of Banking Supervision of Bank of Ghana, said the Bank had in place a sound regulatory environment to ensure a smooth take-off.
Mr Andrew Awuni, Presidential Press Secretary, described the prospects of offshore banking as "exciting". He said it would enhance the country's status in the global financial market and as a leader in the West African Sub-Region as well as increase the capacity of the Bank to lend.