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Opinions of Thursday, 28 May 2015

Columnist: Adoboe, Justice Lee

ADB in snseless expenditure

As ADB to spend 8.6 million Ghana cedis more in new Headquarters building- Part I

Ongoing independent investigations by has revealed that the wanton disregard for fiscal prudence in some major decisions will cause the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) to subject hard earned finances to senseless expenditure.

If not stopped, the bank which was established in 1965, by an Act of Parliament to meet the banking needs of the Ghanaian agricultural sector in a profitable manner will end up spending more than 250 percent what it currently spends housing its headquarters alone.

At the current inter-bank rate, the ADB would spend over GHc 8.6 million more in the new Accra Finance Centre (AFC) building annually than it currently spends housing the headquarters staff in its own building and three satellite headquarters buildings.

The bank currently houses senior management staff and other staff at the ADB House (formerly Swiss Air building) along the Independent Avenue.

It also leased the Citizen Kofi Building, situated between Danquah Circle and Labone Junction, the Ring Road Central branch and a facility at the St Kizito Roman Catholic Church near the Nima Roundabout to host some of the headquarters staff.

All three rented facilities costs the bank just about 800,000 dollars, which at the current market exchange rate of Ghc 3.8759: 1 U.S Dollar works up to 3.100.720 (three million one hundred Ghana Cedis, 72 pesewas) annually.

Conservatively, the bank may spend about GHc300, 000 (three hundred thousand Ghana cedis ) maintaining the ADB house in a year.

However, if the sum of GHC 1.0 million monthly rentals for the four floors at the AFC is anything to go buy, then the ADB is set to spend not less than GHc 8.5 million more annually on headquarters accommodation than it would have been spending if it remained in its own building and the three rented facilities in the city.

For a bank that has a mandate to finance Ghana’s agriculture sector, GHc 8.0 million is not money that can be dispensed with in such a wasteful manner.

Meanwhile, the ADB is said to be a part owner of the building it is renting at such an exorbitant rate.

While other tenants are paying 20 dollars per car for parking space at AFC ADB pays 100 dollars per car for the same measure of parking space, making nonsense of the bank’s part ownership of the building, erected on a land owned by the bank in such a prime space.

It will be recalled that the ADB management held a press conference to state the “facts” about the cost of the building they had moved into.

Subsequently, the board of the bank also came out with a Press Statement, seeking to contradict news items about the bad management practices at the bank.

The board insisted that contrary to media publications, “the board and MD are not incompetent.”

But in all these, the board could not give Ghanaians the comparison between what they spend on running their own ADB House Headquarters and the three rented facilities against what it is going to spend on the AFC.

The board and management are rather hell bent on selingl the bank’s own headquarters building with the adjoining plot of land behind it for a paltry 17 million dollars, and rent a place for GHc 12 million a year.

Meanwhile, in Ghana the average peasant farmer needs just GHc 700. per acre to maintain a farm from plowing stage to harvesting stage, this the ADB has since the approval of the universal banking license for them three years ago, have failed to provide to peasant farmers in Ghana.

“Even Stanbic Bank and micro-finance institutions have been financing agricultural activities more than ADB which was set up with a mandate to promote agriculture development in the country,” Charles Nyaaba, Programmes Officer of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) lamented in an interview.

Governor of the central bank, Henry Kofi Wampoah has in a short interview assured this reporter, that these matters would be looked into to ensure the right thing is done.

But attempts to speak to the ADB Management failed as the Public Relations Unit failed t answer messages sent to them. Stay tuned…