Republic Bank Ghana has said offering of “green mortgage” loan products will enable Ghanaians access government’s subsidised mortgage facilities to buy environmentally-friendly properties to “utilise clean energy and nurture the green environment.”
According to the bank, which is a subsidiary of Republic Financial Holdings limited, an issuance of a Green Bond in Ghana will raise long-term financing for green-building construction by developers and green mortgage financing.
This was proposed when the bank participated in the virtual Ghana Green Building Summit organised by the Yecham Property Consult in conjunction with the IFC–EDGE Programme and supported by the Embassy of Denmark.
Speaking on behalf of the bank, General Manager of Risk Management, Bernard Gyebi noted that green building is the future of home construction, as the world is increasingly witnessing unfavourable climate change.
Mr Gyebi reiterated that one of the key focuses of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to protect the environment.
He also stated that one of the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be the “new normal” of physical and social distancing.
“This means more people will be seeking accommodation. While this is good for real estate and mortgage businesses, it also means that building infrastructure will be competing more with nature”.
Mr Gyebi, therefore, proposed Green Mortgage loan products which will enable members of the public access affordable mortgage facilities that are subsidised by the Government to buy properties that are approved as environmentally-friendly, utilise clean energy and nurture the green environment.
He also called on banks to collaborate with estate developers and the government to devise a criterion on houses qualified to be green.
“Just as the government has partnered banks to offer affordable mortgage rates to public sector workers, I believe in its effort to promote SDGs, the government should partner the banks by providing subsidies on loans to finance houses that qualify to be green or nature friendly.
“Banks working with the estate developers and the government, can come out with clear benchmarks on features or fittings of houses that qualify to be green,” Mr Gyebi stated.
He further indicated that the focus of the government’s affordable housing projects should be on “promoting green buildings.”
Supporting the proposal by the General Manager of Risk Management, the Manager of Mortgage Business of Republic Bank, Mr Frank Oppong-Yeboah, also called for the issuance of a Green Bond by the government or through a public-private partnership to raise long-term financing for Green Buildings and Green Loan Products.
According to him, on the international scene, Green Bond issuance accumulated $161 billion worth of investments worldwide according to international rating agency Moody’s.
“There is a lot of investment opportunities in Green Bond issuance and we think it is time we step forward to do it”, Mr Oppong-Yeboah added.
A Green Bond is a type of fixed-income instrument that is specifically earmarked to raise money for climate and environmental projects.