The Minority in Parliament is cautioning against severe job losses should the government go ahead to collapse or merge the National Investment Bank (NIB) with the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB). The government has been working over the last few years to merge the two state banks to create the National Development Bank as the two entities struggle to stay afloat.
But Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson says such a move will lead to significant job losses and the subsequent destabilisation of about 4,000 households.
He raised this concern while addressing journalists in Parliament on Thursday. “Dr Bawumia, Ken Ofori-Atta is working closely with Mr. Printer – Dr Addison to either collapse the NIB or merge it with the ADB. We contend that collapsing NIB is not an option. Merging NIB with ADB is simply not an option because it will come with its corresponding job losses. Already we have issues with unemployment,” he said.
“Their families – we want to assure them that the Minority will fight for them. We want to assure them that we cannot add to the unemployment situation in the country,” the lawmaker added. According to him, the Minority believes that both banks have the space to survive separately, therefore the country deserves both banks to be in operation.
Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Isaac Adongo, alleged that this plan is merely a smokescreen to sell off the two banks after their merger to government cronies as part of state capture efforts.
“It is clear that this is not about the interest of NIB. This is the last step towards passing through the back door to acquire NIB and ABD for themselves in a state capture,” he said. He asked the government to pay the debt owed to the bank and further proscribed measures that would make it viable.
“The government should just restructure the balance sheet of NIB to swap all the NIB debt that it owes to the government and give government equity. The government says it doesn’t have money to capitalize the bank, but it has given 500 million debt to NIB, it has given 800 million debt… The two will give you 1.3 billion.
“It is your money. You owe the bank. The money is already sitting there. Commit to saying that this is my contribution towards capitalisation so that we issue shares to you and move the money to equity.”
According to Dr Forson, the Minority will be writing to the government’s Economic Management Team pointing out their incompetence as well as proffering solutions on how to save both banks.
“We will write to the Central Bank for Dr Addison to be aware that the solution is with Dr Adongo and his team. We will also write to Ken Ofori-Atta and the IMF telling them that we are ready to help them fix the situation,” he added.
By: Kwaku Asante