Ghana is yet again about to witness another shameful and ugly phenomenon where top management of state owned institutions deliberately and mischievously mismanage and rundown indigenous state enterprises set up with tax payers money for sole purpose of paving way for its divesting to their local cronies or foreign partners, a situation many describe as crony capitalism.
The Al-Hajj can report that the latest state institution likely to join the league of failed state- owned enterprises that have been consciously rundown and consequently privatized is the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), a financial institution that was set up to support agricultural financing in Ghana.
Impeccable information gathered by The Al-Hajj indicates that until President John Mahama and the government step in to avert the ongoing elaborate plot to rundown the ADB, which was set up by an Act of Parliament (Act 286) in 1965 to among other things promote and modernize the agricultural sector through appropriate but profitable financial intermediation, it will soon follow the fate of Merchant Bank now Fortiz, Ghana Airways and other defunct state-owned enterprises.
Some senior and junior staff of the bank who spoke to The Al-Hajj on condition of anonymity stated that ï¿½some people managing state enterprises are deliberately working to collapse state institutions to give the president and his administration a bad name, and ADB is one of such state institutions likely to be collapsed and later privatized.ï¿½
As a result of the concerted effort to collapse the bank, workers, according to sources, will in the coming days pour on the streets to among other things draw Ghanaiansï¿½ attention to how some ï¿½enemiesï¿½ of the state are bent on pushing ADB to go along the lines of then Merchant Bank.
A senior staff (name withheld) told The Al-Hajj that while the bank has over the years been exhibiting spectacular performances to the extent that the time has come for it to be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange, ill-decisions of some top management could affect the bankï¿½s listing on the stock exchange and derail all governmentï¿½s efforts at providing sources of credit to the agricultural sector which has been neglected by other financial institutions in the country.
According to sources close to the senior and junior staff, ADB has virtually been rundown and now itï¿½s having serious liquidity challenges as a result of which the bank is unable to meet workersï¿½ demands like granting of car, housing and other loans.
ï¿½Can you imagine that a bank that was about to be listed on the stock market canï¿½t afford the privileges of its workers? The situation has gone from bad to worse to the extent that when 25 people apply for either a car or housing loan at any given time, only 3 or 5 out of the number are considered due to managementï¿½s excuse of no moneyï¿½ a senior staff member told The Al-Hajj.
Ironically, while the senior and junior staff workers struggle to make ends meet, a source at the bank alleged that top management members are living lavish lives to the extent that they can afford to line their pockets with fat bonuses ranging from GHC 180,000 to GHC380, 000.
Because of its liquidity challenges, the source alleged that top managers of ADB have resorted to selling the bankï¿½s properties to pay ï¿½their fat salaries and bonuses while we the ordinary staff sufferï¿½we will let the public know about their bad deeds in the coming days.ï¿½
ï¿½Our regional office in Accra was recently sold for $10 million, other properties in Kumasi, Tamale, Sunyani and other regions are being sold. And do you know the irony of this, after selling the properties they rent offices at exorbitant prices for staff training. Look, these people are just bent on collapsing the bank to give the president a bad name. That was what they did to Merchant bankï¿½they are a cartel and they want to repeat the same here, but we wonï¿½t allow it,ï¿½ the source noted.
The source added ï¿½Because they want to cover up for their mismanagement in order for it not to be identified at this early stage, they cook figures to paint a good picture about the performance of the bank, but I can tell you that ADB is in mess and very soon the same people parroting its success story will be calling for it privatization.ï¿½
This is not the first time ADB is facing this challenge. But for the vigilance and agitations of farmers, civil society groups, Trade union Congress, the National Democratic congress then in opposition, the Convention Peoples Party and others, substantial portion of the bankï¿½s shares would have been sold to Stanbic Bank of South Africa, under the Kufuor/NPP regime.
The farmers then argued among other things that looking at the valuable support services ADB lend to farmers, it would be wrong for the Kufuor government to privatize it.
In the wake of the debate on the sale of the bank in 2006, the National Farmers and Fisherman Award Winners Association Ghana, who offered to buy the bank but was denied, stated that it "believed that if the farmers and fishers of Ghana own the said shares, ADB will remain a development Bank to support the cause of farmers in Ghana".
State tuned for more explosive facts and figures.
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