Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin (right), then Minister of Commerce and Industry and the Executive Director of Equity Bank Paul Gitahi during the signing of an MoU in Juba in 2009.[© Gurtong| File]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 31 July 2012 [Gurtong]- This is the second commercial bank to be established in Kajo-Keji after Nile Commercial Bank that set shop in the areas immediately after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.
Nile Bank however collapsed after only two years in operation and Equity Bank remains the only operational commercial bank in the town.
“This is really a landmark to Kajo-Keji,” Stephen Sokiri, the Speaker of the Kajo-Keji County Council told Gurtong on phone.
The Speaker said the presence of Equity Bank will help address the issue of corruption and promote transparency.
“It is going to be giving out project development loans, mortgages, overcome the issue of high prices, give access to hard currency, solve the issue of black market and create confidence amongst investors”, said Sokiri.
According to Sokiri, the County Council wants to ensure that all the civil servants in the county open accounts so that all their salaries are paid through the bank in a bid to fight corruption.
The Speaker called for opening up of more institutions in the county, saying a single bank is not enough to cater for the numerous challenges in the area.
Absence of commercial institutions to boost economic growth in the county since the collapse of Nile Commercial Bank in 2007 has slowed down business in the county.
Prices of goods and services in Kajo-Keji are sometimes higher due to difficulties in getting hard currencies to import goods and services.
The preference of Uganda Shillings over the South Sudanese Pounds remains a huge challenge for the new bank and the county authorities.