The Convention People's Party (CPP) has described the move by the government to sell its shares in the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) as suicidal for the economy of the country.
It has, therefore, called on the government to stop all moves, including the review of proposals by interested investors to sell the shares because it is the only agricultural bank that lends a substantial amount of credit to the agricultural sector, which was the backbone of the economy.
A leading member of the CPP and a former economist with the World Bank, Dr Kwaku Osafo, who made the call, said over the years, the lending rates of other banks to the agricultural sector had reduced drastically to seven per cent, making ADB one of the major saviours of the sector.
Recently, there were rumours that the government had sold its shares in the bank to Stanbic Bank, but a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, denied the claim.
The government owns 52 per cent shares in the ADB and the Bank of Ghana owns the remaining 48 per cent.
A statement signed by the deputy minister reiterated that no such decision had been taken, neither had the government or the Bank of Ghana sold its shares in ADB to Stanbic Bank. The statement explained, however, that the government received an unsolicited proposal from the Stanbic Bank sometime last year.
"A committee made up of officials of the ministry and the Bank of Ghana was formed to review the proposal and suggest an appropriate response," it said and added that the committee was yet to submit any report to the government.
"Again we wish to state that although the 2007 budget statement and economic policy stated the government's intention to rationalise her participation in the banking industry this rationalisation would be done taking cognisance of the role these banks play in the economy," it added.
Source: Daily Graphic