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‘Don’t blame NDC for banking sector crisis’ – Seth Terkper

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Former Finance Minister Seth Terkper has discounted claims that the previous government’s negligence led to the collapse of many banks in the country.

Mr Terkper in an interview with Kwame Minkah on Power 97.9 FM revealed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government made lots of sacrifices to save most banks from collapsing, including the then Ghana Commercial Bank.

Since 2017, the Central Bank has revoked the licences of 9 universal banks, 347 microfinance companies, 39 microcredit companies, 15 savings and loans companies, 8 finance house companies, and 2 non-bank institutions.

Notable among the banks were UniBank, Beige, Heritage, Capital, UT and GN Banks.

The regulator said the said financial institutions were undercapitalised hence the revocation of their licenses after they were given grace period. The BoG added its approach was to protect the interest of depositors in accordance with Sections 123 to 137 of Act 930.

There has been a nationwide debate over the approach used by the central bank in its clean–up exercise. While some believe that BOG is being inhuman by not applying the human face to the exercise, others are of the view that the approach was a necessary evil, blaming the previous government for negligence.

But Mr Terkper believes the approach by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to collapse most of the banks was problematic therefore he cannot be blamed for the financial mess that has shaken the foundation of the banking industry and has caused thousands of job losses.

“We changed the Banking ACT…What we need now is to strengthen what we call the bank resolution so that when a bank is failing you’ll be able to [save it],” Mr Terkper said while arguing that the banks could have been saved through the Non-Performing Assets Recovery Trust (NPART) which was set up under the Financial Sector Adjustment Programme (FINSAP) as a vehicle to acquire the non-performing loans of distressed banks.

“…For me, the point is what’s our strategy? And we’re going to have a strategy just as we had a strategy for our debts…Well, if you expect banks to re-capitalize because the economy is going up and down why don’t you do that incrementally so that every year they can be putting in some money, you know in re-capitalizing?” the former minister quizzed as he bemoaned the NPP government’s strategy.

Mr Terkper further explained that their administration put in stringent measures that sustained some banks and strengthened the GCB Bank to be able to acquire the defunct Capital Bank.

“There were a lot of sacrifices that were made. We [NDC] stopped taking money from Ghana Commercial Bank and that’s why Ghana Commercial Bank was strong enough to absorb Capital Bank and other banks,” he added.

Throwing more light on the strategy the Mahama administration adopted to save the ailing banks, Mr Terkper disclosed that the introduction of Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) saved some of the banks from collapsing since it was used to defray some debts energy producers owed the banks.

“The first flow of ESLA by March 2016 was about 300 million cedis. With the 300 million, we [the NDC government] paid the banks that VRA, GRiDCO and others were owing,” he revealed.

Minority

It will be recalled that the Minority last year criticised the Akufo-Addo government for the banking sector clean-up and argued it could have spent less than the almost GHS 23 billion it used for the clean-up on saving jobs instead of closing down financial institutions.

MP for Bolgatanga Central and member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Isaac Adongo, at a press conference indicated the NPP government could have followed plans the Mahama administration put in place to save the sector.

“The Ghanaian taxpayer would have been spared the high cost of this chaotic reform with Bank of Ghana if the Bank of Ghana had listened and followed the reform programme initiated by the NDC,”he said.

He put the blamed at the financial struggles on BoG Governor, Dr Ernest Addison and described him as “needless talkative who caused panic and crass confidence in the financial sector”.

Mr. Adongo also chastised the government for failing to settle its debt owed road contractors.

“Why would the government be ready to borrow GHC14 billion to close down banks and a further GHC7 billion to close down savings and loans companies as well as GHC2 billion to shut down microfinance companies but was not ready to use a fraction of this amount to pay government’s debt to contractors which largely accounted for the slide into insolvency of several cases of the collapsed banks?”

Source: XYZ

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Akufo-Addo speaks on James Town clashes

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President Nana Akufo-Addo has condemned the weekend clashes between supporters of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Odododiodio constituency.

For him, those without a message resort to violence and intimidation.

Addressing a durbar organised by the Ga Traditional Council at James Town as part of his tour of the Greater Accra region, President Akufo-Addo called for total rejection of electoral violence before, during and after the general election.

The NPP parliamentary candidate for the constituency, Nii lante Bannerman pledged to promote peace and appealed to his opponent to do same.

What was supposed to be a peace walk on Sunday turned bloody when NPP youth clashed with their NDC counterparts.

Reports suggest that the NDC, after hearing their opponents had canceled a ‘float’ due to time clash, hit the streets only to be greeted with stones and beer bottles.

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Armed Robbers Play With Private Parts Of Our Wives – Nsuta Birim Drivers Cry

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Residents of Nsuta – Birim in the Sekyere Central District of the Ashanti region have said some armed robbers in the area have resulted in putting their fingers in the private parts of women in the area.

The armed robbers who operate on the Nsuta-Birim-Jeduako road according to the residents do not only rob them but use their fingers on the private part of their victims who are women.

Speaking to OTEC News Kwame Agyenim Boateng, commercial drivers who work in the area said they have grounded their vehicles for the past one week due to the rampant robbery cases recorded in the area.

They disclosed that robbers in the past months have consistently attacked drivers and traders with sophisticated guns and machetes killing three persons with one sustaining severe machete injuries.

“We are tired of the armed robbery operations in the area, they beat men with guns and machete after “fingering” our wives,” one of the drivers cried.

“We had to park our cars for over one week due to how the robbers were chasing us on daily basis, we have reported the matter to Nsuta police on several cases but nothing has been done about the situation.”

The situation they added has brought untold hardship to them as traders can no longer go about their normal trading activities to supply foodstuffs and goods in both Birim and Jeduako Communities.

The residents have therefore called on authorities in the area to help curb the menace for peace to prevail in the area.

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Ghana Not Back To HIPC – Oppong Nkrumah

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Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has debunked claims that Ghana has once again been ranked in the category of Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC).

According to him, the numerous publications making rounds on social media purporting that the country has returned to HIPC is false.

Speaking at the Nation Building Updates on Tuesday in Accra, the Minister noted that because the country is approaching a general election in December, there is a deliberate attempt to discredit the work government has done since assuming office in 2017 to revive the economy.

He said “there are suggestions being spread particularly on social media that Ghana has been declared HIPC again and I am sure you would have noticed that a lot of persons are sharing materials on social media that the IMF or World Bank has declared Ghana HIPC or listed Ghana as one of the HIPC countries and it is a suggestion that the economy is not as good a shape that we claim it is.

“For the avoidance of doubt and because we have also mentioned that we are aware that some persons in the weeks ahead of the elections will seek to spread a lot of false information and fake news, it is important to quickly respond to it right here and right now. Categorically we say to you it is not true that Ghana has been declared HIPC or has been added to the list of HIPC countries,” he added.

The HIPC was a group of 39 developing countries with high levels of poverty and debt overhang who qualified for financial assistance from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral, bilateral and commercial creditors between 1996 and 2001. It was designed to ensure the reduction in the debt levels of poor and indebted countries.

TheMinister emphasized that the HIPC was a programme limited to a particular point in time that Ghana and a number of African countries applied, benefited, exited and was done with it.

“The publication out there list the countries that participated and qualified for it. Currently, there is no HIPC programme for any country to qualify for so if anybody is spreading that and adding to it a narrative that suggest that Ghana is now a highly indebted poor country and has been listed on an IMF or World Bank publication as such.

However, the Minister encouraged the general public to disregard such publications. He also admonished the media to be circumspect and thoroughly conduct background checks before publishing news items.

 

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