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Business News of Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Source: The Chronicle

Turmoil over Military Bank

Somewhere in 2013, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) organised a news conference in Accra to announce to the public, the decision to establish the Defence Industrial Holding Company (DIHOC), a limited liability venture, as the engine to drive the growth of the Ghanaian economy.

According to GAF, under the DIHOC, ten industries, which would greatly impact on the country’s socio-economic development and growth, had been selected for consideration.

These are the garment industry, footwear industry, agriculture and agro-processing industry, electrical and electronic engineering (with an initial interest in computer assembling plant, solar energy industry and mining of silica for the ICT industry), mechanical engineering, civil engineering, shipbuilding industry, printing and publishing industry , as well as ammunition and explosive ordinance devices industry.

In addition, support in construction and civil works, medical outreach programmes, production of essential pharmaceutical drugs as well as the production of basic military hardware, clothing and other military hardware gear for the security sector were identified as strategic national needs, hence the involvement of GAF in the rejuvenation of the Kumasi Shoe Factory.

GAF argued that to effectively manage human security challenges confronting the country today, it was important that the Ghana Armed Forces became more proactive in some aspects of the national socio-economic environment and remain focused on its desire to contribute towards national development.

Conspiracy missing from the list of this strategic plan, however, was the setting up of a bank by BURMA Camp.

Though the establishment of the bank is not part of this strategic plan announced to the public, the Military High Command has decided to venture into the sector, by setting up a bank called service Integrity Saving and Loans Company.

The Bank of Ghana had already consented to the request and granted all the necessary permits for the bank to start operations.

Both civilian workers and serving personnel of the GAF are, however, not happy with the way the bank is being foised on them by the Chief of Defence Staff and his team.

Available information to The Chronicle indicates that the military leadership had published in its internal newsletter, an order directed at all workers of the forces to pick forms from the new bank and register with it.

Workers (both civilians and soldiers) who fail to comply with 24, 2016, deadline it has set, would not be paid.

In a nutshell, the workers are being forced to transfer their accounts from their various banks to the new GAF bank, for the transaction of consultations, the two parties would have agreed as to whether every employee should automatically become a customer of the new bank or not.

They noted that some of them had taken huge loans from their banks with a promise to channel their monthly income through them (banks) to retire the loans.

With the threat to suspend their salaries if they did not open accounts with the new Armed Forces Bank, the workers are wondering how they are going to honour the pledge of channeling new Armed Forces bank would never give them loans as the traditional banks have been doing for them, hence their objection to the setting up of the bank.

When contacted, the public Affairs Director of the GAF, Lt. Col Quashie admitted to The Chronicle that his outfit had indeed established a bank with approval from the Central Bank.

According to him, a team had been set up to go round all the military commands to explain the modalities to both the military personnel and the civilian workers.