Dion tells banks to drive growth

Islands, Normal

The National – Tuesday, February 1, 2011

EAST New Britain Governor Leo Dion said, with this year’s budget theme of growing the local economy, the banking sector has a big role to play among the private sector in triggering growth.
Speaking last week during the launching of Kokopo Microfinance Ltd (KML) new banking products, he said the economy of ENB was largely agriculture-based with more than 80% of the produce coming from smallholders in rural areas.
“The people who will move the economy forward are in the agriculture sector.”
He said it was therefore critical to pay close attention to the welfare of local farmers and KML was showing that it was truly the people’s bank as it provided opportunities for the rural farmers to create wealth through the process of value adding.
Dion said he was impressed that KML was helping to link small farmers to the right information of good financial planning and empowering them to develop different products that accept certification to be traded at markets.
Dion said history had shown that ENB had participated in economy building through copra and cocoa and now with other crops and, despite the effects of cocoa pod borer, people were still working hard.
He said that a recent research used in the quest for ENB’s autonomy showed that people in ENB produced more than K600 million worth of food products every year.
Dion said, without agriculture, such institutions like KML would not be in place.