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Business News of Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Source: Palaver

Palaver: Govt Lying About Sale Of ADB

Agricultural Development Bank is undoubtedly on the leading banks in the country. Its role peculiar in the senses that it performs the role of being the main engine of growth through agricultural sector financing. Like the name depicts, it is the bank for the farmers, fishermen and other agricultural sector workers.

Established some 40 something years ago, the bank has played no mean significant role in agricultural development in the country. That the bank is one of the leading banks in the country is a truth no can deny.

Currently, the bank’s total assets is ¢4.2 trillion. Last year alone, the bank lent out 24 percent portfolio of about ¢1.8 trillion to the agricultural sector. The bank also processed over 400 million dollars in the Western Union Money Transfer which has become a major revenue earner fro the bank.

The above statistics show that the bank is a major mover in the economy. It is on this impressive showing by the bank that the proposed sale of the government shares in the bank is worrying.

Even though the government has issued certain facts and statements by some government officials have proved otherwise.

In the first place, the government has confirmed receiving a proposal from the Stanbic Bank sometime last year and a committee made up of officials of the ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Bank of Ghana formed to review the proposal and suggest an appropriate response.

As at the time of writing this piece, the committee is yet to submit its report to the government. One wonders what has taken the committee such a long time to come out with the report.

A few weeks ago, the Member of Parliament for Assin North Hon. Kennedy Agyeman issued a warning to the Governor of Bank of Ghana not to succumb to the Brentwood institutions by self government’s shares.

The statement by the MP who is a leading member of the Party and therefore has a first hand information raises a lot of concern.

The NPP government attempt a similar sell out of the Ghana Commercial Bank until the opposition Parties, civil societies and top economic experts started making noise compelling the government to back out.

The government should come out with the committee’s report which will give its official stand. As it is now, it is very difficult to accept the press statement issued by the deputy finance minister, Hon. Professor George Gyan-Baffour.

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