Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Finance and Economic Planning Minister, has challenged the banking industry to focus on building human resource capacity through the expansion of training and skills development facilities, careful selection and the establishment of appropriate incentive schemes.
According to him, the financial services industry will also have to establish structures and policies to identify and manage the rising costs and risks associated with the human resource constraint.
Ghana’s financial services sector has witnessed significant growth in recent years in response to the reforms that have been introduced, such as the Offshore Banking Act, Anti Money Laundering Act and others. The reforms, however, have not been accompanied by the most important asset of the industry vis-à-vis human resource capacity. As a result, the finance minister said young professionals in the industry have had to assume huge responsibilities which they have not been exposed to or have not had the opportunity to be trained to handle.
Speaking to some Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors of universal banks who are members of the Ghana Association of Bankers, Dr. Duffuor explained that corporate goals have to be translated into viable realities and profits, and this can only be accomplished with the appropriate human resource capacity. “Human resource management practices in the financial sector are changing under pressures from an increasingly intense competitive environment. Increasingly, competition in the financial sector is becoming more focused on the skills and abilities of people and not so on machines.
Even the growing automation of operations requires the right people behind the machines and the systems to make things happen.” The minister also touched on compensation to staff, where he explained that financial institutions have traditionally followed pay scales with pre-determined increments, slabs, bonuses and time-based fringe benefits like car and house advances, a situation which is no more. To be effective, Dr. Duffuor said the financial sector must have a high degree of credibility. This means that the industry should be able to respond with sound and well thought through policies as and when the need arises.
According to him, to stem competition among financial institutions, attention should be paid to policies and plans adopted to enhance the human resources supply to the industry on a sustainable basis. To this end, he said the sector will benefit from a greater industry-university partnership as a major avenue through which a cadre of young and aspiring professionals, specialists and management staff can be produced on a sustainable basis. He also called for continuous training of the right caliber of human resource as a means of addressing the skills and competency deficiencies in the sector.
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