Banks which survived cleanup have collapsed – Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has stated that “many” of the banks, which survived the banking sector cleanup, have already “collapsed”.

According to Mr Bagbin, government erred in its approach to the banking sector clean-up, which resulted in nine banks and dozens of financial firms having their licenses revoked by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) between August 2017 and 2019.

Responding to a question in a meeting with the Parliamentary Press Corps in Parliament on Friday, on the status of a probe he had directed into the revocation of licenses of UT Bank and UniBank, Mr Bagbin said “books of the banks don’t look good.”

To him, it should have been the focus of the government to save the banks instead of revoking their licenses.

“I think our colleagues in government erred in not seeing it that way but rather made sure that Ghanaians who were trying to enter into the sector lost out.

“Instead of using about GH¢5 billion to support the banks to survive, we ended up using about GH¢25 billion, but we have not been able to sanitise the sector. What has rather happened is that if they bring their books now, many of the supposed surviving banks have collapsed,” he said.

The government, Mr Bagbin said, misunderstood the situation and adopted the wrong approach to the challenge the sector faced.

“Our friends in government misunderstood the situation and thought that the clean-up involves the complete sellout of the banking sector to foreign interests.”

The role of banks in the economy of the country, he said, was very important hence the need for it to be controlled by indigenous people.”

Mr Bagbin said “You know the roles the banks play in our economy. If the shareholders of your banks are all foreigners, and you know it is the banks that make the money so the dividends go to the shareholders, who are not Ghanaians. So your sweat, your toil goes into the banks and the profit is taken away in the form of dividends by the shareholders, who are staying outside the country.

“It should be the focus of every country to make sure that they are in control of the banking sector. So if Ghanaians who had banks and were having challenges, it is incumbent on us to support them to succeed for us to continue to be in control of the banking sector.”

Giving an update on the probe, the Speaker said “the response from the [Adhoc] Committee has not been encouraging. I have on many occasions drawn their attention but have not received any report yet. They said they are having some challenges but we are still following up.”

The Speaker constituted the committee, chaired by the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, in March, 2021, to probe the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the two defunct banks. 

It followed the presentation of a petition to the Speaker on behalf of the owners, Prince Kofi Amoabeng and Dr Kwabena Duffuor, by Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga.


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