Anger, sorrow and frustration were boldly inscribed on the faces of disgruntled customers of collapsed banks in the Upper East Region who converged to ‘mourn’ collectively, swearing thunder and lightning to besiege the seat of Government in the coming days if their hard-earned deposits are not fully paid by the government.
At a press conference in Bolgatanga, the displeased depositors noted that not only will they storm the jubilee house, but they will also boycott the upcoming elections.
Taking turns to speak their hearts out over how the collapsed of the financial institutions is fostering and breeding uncontrollable hardship and hunger, the customers described the government actions leading to the collapse of the banks as well as its style of handling the issue as cruel, wickedness that can only be perpetrated by heartless leadership.
They described the move by the government to hoard their investment for five years without interest as cruelty, witchcraft and greed adding that “we are not in normal time if anyone attempts to mess up with us, we will also mess up with the person too” as the presser ground echo a chant “no pay, no vote”
They fumed over the government’s announcement that they [customers] of collapsed banks should forfeit 50% of their deposits if they want their deposits paid back to them.
They passionately called on their colleagues across the country to massively vote out the Nana Addo led New Patriotic Party’s government, accusing government of visiting innocent citizens with unjustified hardship.
Below is the press statement read by Achana Justina on behalf of the aggrieved customers.
PRESS CONFERENCE BY COALITION OF AGGRIEVED CUSTOMERS OF COLLAPSED BANKS
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen from the Media, you are welcome to today's Press conference by the Coalition of Aggrieved Customers of Collapsed Banks. We thank you for making yourselves available at very short notice for this all-important presser.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you may recall that Government in 2017-2018 decided to undertake some reforms in the banking and financial services sector. Government through various press communiques assured us, depositors, that our monies would be safe and that we should not panic because the cardinal objective of the financial sector reforms was to clean-up the system and make banks and allied financial institutions stronger.
Many of us who entrusted our money and lifetime savings in these banks and financial institutions held on to Government’s promise that our monies would be safe. We never anticipated that Government’s so-called clean-up of the banking and financial sector would take-down so many banks and financial institutions, especially on the basis that Government itself indicated that it required between GHC 9 billion to GHC13 billion Cedis to solve the crises in the banking and financial sector.
Considering that most of these banks that were taken down were indigenous banks, owned and operated by Ghanaians, we believe it was most cruel on the part of this and any Government to do this to its own people and turn around to advocate “local content” and private sector participation as the engine of economic growth.” This also flies against government’s own “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda.
After cruelly collapsing these banks and financial institutions, thereby rendering our children jobless, and denying our SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) and Micro-businesses access to credit because these indigenous banks and locally-owned financial institutions were and are the only source of financing for SMEs, Microbusinesses, traders etc. in the country.
So in one stroke Government by collapsing local banks and financial institutions thus forcing the owners of these banks and financial institutions to lose their capital investments, has also collapsed many SMEs, Microbusinesses, and Ghanaian owned businesses who depended on these banks and financial institutions for financing and as a result, many local businesses have folded up or wound their businesses for lack of credit financing and working capital finance to support and keep their businesses operating and afloat.
The cumulative effect of Government’s collapse of banking and financial institutions is that liquidity or circulation of money (i.e. flow of money) in the real sectors of the economy from which banks and financial institutions used to mobilise deposits and honour customer withdrawals has dried up. Worse still through this action Government has rendered us depositors impotent, useless and redundant.
Many of our businesses have collapsed, we lost our loved ones who died from the shock and pain of losing their lifetime investments and savings, and many could not pay their medical bills for surgeries that could have otherwise saved their lives. A good number of us with underlying debilitating health conditions could not cope with the financial pressures associated with healthcare costs and many have lost their lives. Our wives have deserted us and have taken our children to other men because we could not properly take care of them and our marital responsibilities with dignity as fathers and husbands anymore. Most women among us are facing wretched lives as well.
With these developments how can we wake up at night to go and queue and vote for a Government only for the Government to come into power and do this us? Today Government is saying it cannot pay us, so they have issued a 5-year bond for our locked up deposits (i.e. savings and investments). Five (5) years paper (IOU) ooh! With zero coupon rate, that is zero or no interest paid on our deposits and investments. We have to wait for the 5 years to receive our money (deposits, savings and investments) back!
What sort of wickedness is this? How can you take someone's money for 5 good years and say you would not add interest to the money? When many of us depositors agitated by refusing to wait for 5 years but want our money now, the Government tells us to take the 5-year bonds to CBG (Consolidated Bank of Ghana) who will discount the bonds by 50% of the face value amount of the bond and pay that to us immediately (now) whilst we forfeit or forgo the remaining 50% of the bond value which CBG will keep.
So if you have Gh₡100,000 deposit locked up and converted into the 5-year bond and you want your money now and cannot wait for 5 years, CBG will discount and only pay you Gh₡50,000 and take away the remaining Gh₡50,000 of your money which you will forfeit and forever!
God! This Government is not only wicked but they are recklessly cruel as well.
How can you say we forfeit 50% of our own hard-earned money if we want our money now?
If you don't have money to pay us now, where are you getting the money to pay for the discounted 50% at CBG?
We want to use this medium to serve a two weeks ultimatum to Government, to initiate alternative plans to pay all depositors our monies as soon as possible! Certainly, we cannot wait for 5 years to be short-changed when the value of our deposits will lose value because no interest is accruing on it.
We want Government to understand that we didn't force them to collapse any bank or financial institution, they took the decision on their own perhaps borne out of cruelty, witchcraft and greed; or better still grand deception!
If after two weeks we don't receive any favourable revised payment plan from Government to refund and pay us all our monies, we shall besiege the Jubilee House and “Occupy” it till they pay us our money. We shall not leave the Jubilee House until every single one of us is paid.
We have duly served our notice, may the officials who have ears listen. This is not a threat, we are not in normal times. If anyone attempts to mess with us, we will also mess with the person too.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, as a result of our disappointment, we are by this press conference here in Bolgatanga encouraging all our over 2500 members in Upper East and by extension, all depositors in the country who have their monies locked up in these collapsed banks, microfinance and savings and loans companies to defy the consequences of covid19 and join the queues, no matter the restrictions you may encounter, get registered to be able to vote against the government who have decided to make our lives miserable by withholding our hard-earned money for God knows how long without any justified cause. Nobody should expect us, victims of this government's wickedness in the financial sector to turn around and praise the same government that have rendered our lives miserable.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media we thank you for honouring our invitation. Please carry our message across to reach them. We are serious; we mean what we say!
Thank you, God bless you and may he bless our homeland Ghana.