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Nii mei ke Naa mei, Nananom, Your Excellency’s Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Ladies & Gentlemen, my brothers and sisters, I have the greatest honour and pleasure to welcome you this evening to the Accra Tourist Information Center for this landmark event which marks a most significant milestone in the annals of the Black Starline Cooperative Credit Union. Today we celebrate ten years of growth, progress and success in effectively promoting financial inclusion through our credit union and its structure inspired by equity and collective progress.
Before I begin I would like us to be all up and standing as we remember our fallen Heroes and Sheroes who have joined the ancestral realm. In particular I recall Comrade Robert Mugabe and Baba Rufus Martin a staunch Pan Africanist who was our oldest shareholder and a repatriate to Ghana of many years.
It is for good reason that our anniversary was pushed from August 17th to this date. When plans had to change we deliberately chose it as it coincided with the One hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who lifted highest the opinions and philosophies of Marcus Garvey and founded the Black Star nation of Ghana.
We first launched our celebration calendar on the one hundredth (100) anniversary of the incorporation of the Black Starline Enterprise by the visionary Rt Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey on June 27th this year. We chose to stand on his tall shoulders to outdoor our special event. Indeed Marcus Garvey’s pomp and pageantry in hind sight was to herald and announce his outright royalty in terms of his progressive Pan African Spirit.
I wish to thank the Rastafari Council of Ghana for the visionary initiative taken a decade ago to create what we have today. Since our incorporation with a few pioneer shareholders we have now grown to be a credit union with of over 1700 registered members and over one thousand shareholders. We have a global reach and following amongst the diasporan constituency spread across Canada, the USA, the Caribbean, Europe and of course Africa our motherland. In this regard we are very proud to be one of the only legacy institutions modelled after the philosophy and opinions of Marcus Garvey. Despite several challenges experienced in the financial industry our credit union continues to post impressive growth.
I am especially pleased to announce that all shareholders accounts have been credited with their respective dividends of seven cedis forty eight pesewas per share owned for the 2017 financial year. We are currently undergoing an audit of last year’s operations and do hope to engage our shareholders on our performance at our AGM which hopefully should be held before the end of this year.
In seeking to remain committed to meeting our promise to grow shareholder value, we have introduced greater and more effective ways of working by our staff, management and board to ensure the integrity and security of shareholder’s funds. We have also invested in technological innovations to ease the ways of doing business. The head office now uses a money counting machine. This is real progress step by step. We have just launched smart phones for our mobile bankers with technology that can help us track member transactions and more effectively monitor their activities. The mobile banking is an important aspect of our business and it enables a face to face interaction and engagement of savers who do not have time to leave their business or homes to make a deposit. Our diaspora constituents can directly access our Zenith Bank for transfers from our website.
Our discussions with the Central Regional Credit Union (CREG) are expected to conclude soon to ensure a merger of our operations and engage the Bank of Ghana on a stronger financial footing to meet the new requirements in our sector.
We wish to remind shareholders of the Marcus Garvey branded savings boxes we launched both for our adult as well as junior savers. The habit of savings is one that must be encouraged as a matter of principle by older generations onto the next. It is this self-empowerment spirit that we must see as a duty to cultivate to become second nature in order to progress this union and the African nation in a larger context.
Our recent dividend of GHC7.48 pesewas in these challenging times not only reflects and confirms our commitment to grow shareholder value from a management perspective but also a testament that the self-reliant attitude professed by Garvey is being realised by over a thousand shareholders. I take this opportunity to therefore remind you gathered here and the general public that the window for the anniversary raffle promotion is also open up until Farmers Day on December 6th where every share purchased stands a chance to win fifteen shares as a first prize worth one thousand five hundred cedis, ten shares worth one thousand cedis as second place and five shares worth five hundred cedis as third.
On Farmers Day this year we shall host a Family Day in the Legon Botanical Gardens and this will afford us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and get our next generation of shareholders aboard as we and spend quality time with friends and family.
On behalf of the entire board, management and shareholders of the BSLCCU I want to thank you ALL again for your valuable time and we do look forward to your continued support. Empower yourselves by creating a good savings habit in yourselves and your wards!
Long Live Garvey, Long Live Osagyefo, Long Live Africa!