The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister designate, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, has indicated the likelihood of the government refunding money to customers of DKM and four other microfinance companies whose investments have been frozen because the companies violated the Banking Act.
He was, however, quick to add that that decision would depend on the Cabinet and the recommendations of a committee that would be set up to look into the operations of the microfinance companies involved.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh, who was part of the last batch of 10 regional ministers to appear for vetting, was responding to questions from the Ranking Member of the Appointments Committee, Mr Haruna Iddrisu.
The nominee said although the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had initiated steps, resulting in the refund of some amounts to some of the customers, what had been paid was not substantial.
His position contradicts that of the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, who told the same committee that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) did not capture in its 2016 manifesto the payment of money owed customers of the defunct DKM Microfinance Company.
During last year’s electioneering, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was then the NPP candidate, told the chiefs and people of Busunya in the Nkoranza North Constituency: “If voted as President, I will do everything in my power to get your money back to you.”
The BoG shut down DKM and four other microfinance companies when it emerged that they were operating in a manner that was detrimental to their depositors, among other breaches.
Coming from a region known to be the country’s food basket but whose youth travel across the Sahara Desert to seek greener pastures in Europe, Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said migration was the result of the lack of jobs in the region, for which reason he would ensure that the youth took advantage of opportunities provided by agriculture and jobs that would result from the government’s one district, one factory promise.
The nominee said while the establishment of a Cashew Development Authority would guarantee stable prices for cashew farmers in the region, prospects for the poultry industry were great and that would be promoted.
On the impasse between him and the Sunyani Traditional Council, for which the traditional authorities said they would not work with him because he had disrespected them during the elections, he said the issue had ben settled by the National Peace Council.
Mr Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister designate answering questions at the vetting
The nominee for the Central Region, Mr Kwamena Duncan, told the committee that he would put priority on creating jobs by attracting investments to the region that had been captured in the Ghana Statistical Service’s annual surveys in the last 20 years as the fourth poorest.
He said providing tax holidays for investors would be one of the key strategies to attract investment to the region.
The Central Region is known to be the citadel of the country’s education and boasts some of the best senior high schools in the country, but it has often been reported that the indigenes do not perform well enough in the BECE to gain admission to those schools.
Mr Duncan promised to rectify the situation by setting up awards schemes to reward best performing junior high schools in the various districts.
Mr Salifu Saeed, Northern Regional Minister designate answering questions at the vetting. Pictures: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI
When he took his turn, the Northern Regional Minister designate, Mr Salifu Saeed, said peace and security would be key on his agenda, adding that he would allow stakeholders, including traditional leaders, to lead the process.
He also spoke to the issue of the youth locking up offices of state institutions in the region and promised to deal with that.
He promised to see to the completion of projects left behind by the Mahama regime, including the Tamale Airport.