Banking Sector Clean-Up Was An Error – Alban Bagbin
The Speaker of Parliament, Bagbin says the government erred in its clean up of the financial sector. In a bid to also restore confidence in the banking and specialized deposit-taking sector, the Bank of Ghana embarked on a clean-up exercise in August 2017. Spending over GH¢20 billion, the Central Bank’s action was to resolve insolvent
financial institutions whose continued existence posed risks to the interest of depositors. The government said the action was one of the contributory factors for the country’s high debt stock. “It is the focus of every country to ensure they are in control of the banking sector. So if we had Ghanaians with banks having
challenges, it is incumbent on us to make them succeed. I think our colleagues in government erred in not seeing it that way”, the Speaker stressed. In a media engagement, Rt. Hon Bagbin said the government should have instead channelled resources into supporting the indigenous banks. “They tried and ensured that
Ghanaians making it in the sector lost out and instead of using about GH¢5 billion to help the banks to survive, we ended up losing GH¢25 billion, and we have still not been able to sanitize the system and there is still a lot of work to be done.” Finance Minister, Ofori-Atta supervised the banking sector clean-up from mid-2017 to January 2020.
The clean-up saw a reduction in the number of banks from 34 to 23, whilst 347 microfinance institutions, 15 savings and loans and eight finance houses had their licences revoked. While some of the commercial banks were merged to form the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited, state-owned GCB was allowed to swallow
others. The Securities and Exchange Commission also announced the revocation of licenses of 53 Fund Management Companies. A number of these institutions were found to have varying degrees of corporate governance lapses. The total estimated cost of the state’s fiscal intervention, excluding interest payments,
from 2017 to 2019 was pegged at GH¢16.4 billion. Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in 2020 claimed that government spent about GH¢21 billion on the banking clean-up exercise.