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ICU lauds govt for shelving plan to merge two banks

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
 Mr Solomon Kotei (middle) speaking at the news conference
Mr Solomon Kotei (middle) speaking at the news conference

The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), has lauded the government for rescinding its decision to merge the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and the National Investment Bank (NIB) into the proposed National Development Bank (NDB).

It has, however, urged the government to recapitalise the two banks to enable them to meet the Bank of Ghana’s new minimum capital requirement of GH¢400 million.

“We also appeal to the government to restructure the management and board of NIB to enable it to deliver effectively, to meet the expectations of all stakeholders,” the General Secretary of the ICU, Mr Solomon Kotei, said at a news conference in Accra.

No merger

Plans for the merger were first revealed by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, in November 2017, during the 2018 Budget reading in Parliament.

The merger, he said, was to create a strong bank that would drive the industrialisation growth of the country.

The move was criticised by many stakeholders, including unionised staff of the ADB, the ICU, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), as well as some banking experts.

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On December 11, 2018, the Daily Graphic reported that the government had abandoned its plan to merge the two national banks.

The cancellation, the paper learnt, was at the behest of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The President was said to have expressed the government’s commitment to resource the two banks individually, to enable them to play their traditional roles of stimulating investments in the manufacturing sector and transforming agriculture and agro-processing through strategic lending.

The gesture is in line with the government’s agenda of economic transformation through industrialisation and increased investments in agriculture and agro-processing.

Appreciation

Mr Kotei said the labour union petitioned the Presidency and the Ministry of Finance not to merge the two national banks and was glad that the government had abandoned the idea of a merger.

“The ICU-Ghana, therefore, wishes to use this news conference to convey our sincere appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for heeding to our petition and for allowing NIB and ADB to continue to perform their core mandates,” he said.

Appeal

The ICU General Secretary recalled that the disclosure of the intended merger led to panic withdrawals from the two banks. He, therefore, appealed to businesses and institutions that closed their accounts with the ADB and NIB to resume business with the two banks.

“Please go back to these banks for a secure business,’’ he said.

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