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General News of Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Minority in Parliament says money borrowed for clean up could have saved banks

The Minority in Parliament has taken a swipe at the Bank of Ghana for its decision to spend GH¢23 billion to clean up the banking sector when it says a fraction of that amount could have been used to pay off the energy sector debts and contractors' indebtedness to the collapsed banks.

Addressing a press conference in Accra on Tuesday [September 3, 2019], the Minority in Parliament questioned why the government was ready to borrow the huge taxpayers’ money, equivalent to $6 billion for the clean up exercise, yet it was reluctant to use a fraction of the money to settle government’s debt to contractors who largely accounted for the insolvency of the banks.

The action of the central bank and the government, they claimed, lead to the unemployment of about 25,000 staff of the affected banks.

“Why would a government be ready to borrow GH¢14 billion to close down banks and a further GH¢7 billion to close down savings and loans companies as well as GH¢2billion to shut microfinance companies, but was not ready to use a fraction of this amount to pay off government's debts to contractors which largely accounted for this insolvency in several cases of the collapsed bank,” the Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Mr Isaac Adongo, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues at the press conference asked.

Mr Adongo said the financial sector clean up commenced by the Akufo-Addo administration in August 2017 has led to the collapse of nine universal banks, 347 microfinance companies, 39 microcredit companies or money lenders, 15 savings and loans companies, eight finance house companies, and two non-bank financial institutions.

He said the Ghanaian taxpayer could have been spared the high cost of this chaotic reform if the Bank of Ghana had listened and followed the reform programme initiated by the NDC.