Some eleven of the 23 universal banks operating in Ghana, have been given the green light by the Bank of Ghana to pay dividends to their shareholders for the 2020 financial year.
The central bank put a moratorium on the payment of dividends by the banks following the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the economy since mid-March 2020.
The Deputy Head of Banking Supervision at the Bank of Ghana, Mr Ismail Adam, announced the decision at the UPSA Law School Quarterly Banking Roundtable webinar.
He said it is meant to help build a robust post-COVID-19 banking sector.
Some of the beneficiary banks such as Ecobank Ghana, GCB Bank and CAL Bank have already paid dividends to their shareholders.
Mr Adam said: “The idea is to make the institutions more robust and resilient such that they wouldn’t suffer because of the pandemic”.
“So, one of the main things we did was to say that we are putting a hold on payment of dividend so that we build enough capital to withstand the shocks that will emanate from the pandemic.”
“But it was not cast in stone”, he said.
“We also said that if you [banks] are meeting certain requirements, as we said, you will be allowed to pay dividend. So, as we speak, [of the] 23 banks that we have, I think eleven of them, which is almost 50%, we have given approval to them to pay some dividend”, he noted.
“From our interaction with the board, the issue came up and yesterday, I think I made that point somewhere, some were even threatening to take us to court for infringing their rights under the Companies Act”, he indicated.