Wednesday, 08 July

Mahama laments collapse of fin. firms

John Mahama

The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Mahama, has bemoaned the effect the collapse of some local banks and financial institutions is having on individuals, businesses and, especially the thousands who lost their jobs in the process.

Many people lost their jobs overnight in the government's financial sector clean-up which resulted in the closing down of banks, microfinance firms, as well as savings and loans and fund management companies.

The decision has not only affected the livelihoods of those rendered unemployed but also individuals and businesses with investments in many of these firms.

Speaking during an interaction with the leadership of the Coalition of Affected Savings and Loans Customers (CASLOC), bankers and fund managers, Mr Mahama, among others, urged the government to go beyond paying lip service and pay the affected customers what is due them.

Many of these people are suffering, he noted.

Former President Mahama also explained that the two previous NDC administrations deliberately encouraged more Ghanaian participation in the financial sector, expressing regret that the clean-up has affected mainly local institutions.

“We promoted indigenous participation in the financial sector because we realized that the sector was dominated mostly by foreign interests, big foreign banks… we said that this sector was such an important sector, so Ghanaians should participate in it”, he stressed.

Explaining further, President Mahama said the microfinance and savings and loans companies helped in expanding the participation of indigenous capital in the sector.

“Specifically, the purpose for that was to improve small and medium enterprise lending because the big banks were not attuned to SME lending”, he added.

According to Mr Mahama, before the change of government, the NDC administration had begun working to streamline the activities of the local banks, leading to the passing of the Depositors Insurance Scheme and other bills. Institutions that were operating out of their permitted remit were also given a two-year window within which to regularise their operations.

He lamented that if the process had not been truncated immediately the Akufo-Addo government came into office, coupled with the huge increase in the minimum required capital to GHS400 million, many of the Ghanaian owned institutions would not have been closed down, people would not have lost their jobs and deposits would have been saved.