Business News of Sunday, 13 January 2019
The government has been accused of unfairness in its selection of banks for a bailout after they failed to raise the new GHS400 million minimum capital requirement.
According to banking consultant Richmond Atuahene, at least, one of the five banks selected for the GHS2 billion bailout via the Ghana Amalgamated Trust (GAT), does not meet the criteria set by President Nana Akufo-Addo for the rescue of struggling local banks.
He quoted the president as saying only well-managed local banks will be supported as Ghana’s financial service sector undergoes reforms.
The beneficiary banks, Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), National Investment Bank (NIB), OmniBank Ghana Limited/ Sahel Sahara Ghana (OmniBank / BSIC), Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) and Prudential Bank are on course to receiving top-ups after missing the 31 December 2018 deadline for raising the GHS400 million.
According to Mr Atuahene, the state-owned NIB, has for the past three years failed to present audited accounts, which is against good corporate governance.
“Is it fair to the others?” he questioned on Newsfile and claimed that NIB had questionable books, thus, requiring the appointment of an advisor.
“By law, once you appoint an advisor, it means there is something in there that had to be looked at by an independent advisor”, he told host Samson Lardy Anyenini.
Mr Atuahene was emphatic that the support for NIB will not change the fortunes of the struggling bank because NIB was once bailed out by the Mills government to the tune of GHS120m but to no avail.
He also expressed surprise at the government’s posture in shying away from describing the support as a bailout. The banking consultant said any government support to a financial institution is a bailout.
“It is a matter of semantics”, he said.
The selected banks are expected to receive a total of GHS2 billion in financial support for capitalisation. Already, the government has pumped GHS11.56 billion in consolidating nine banks whose licences have been withdrawn. This figure amounts to 3.5% of Ghana’s GDP, the expert said.
Spending an extra GHS2bn to support five more banks brings to GHS13.56bn the total amount of money the government has pumped into the banking sector reforms.