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20.08.2019 Editorial

Apex Bank Pulls The Trigger

By Daily Guide
Dr. Ernest Addison
LISTEN AUG 20, 2019

The many savings and loans companies which sprout around the country like germinating seeds after a heavy downpour were some of the characteristics of the old political order.

Today the fallouts from their unsupervised operations constitute a contagion threatening the health of the banking sector.

While these companies satisfied existing regulations about setting them up, the same cannot be said about their supervision by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to ensure that as they floated there were no breaches in their operations.

Having operated for this long and the regulatory authority turning blind eyes to their operations, the chickens have come home to roost and the facts are emerging about the effects of their reckless management.

The manner in which they ignored prudent norms and did as they pleased suggested a certain level of acquiescence from the government at the time. When the regulatory authority – the apex bank – ignores standards because that inures to the interest of the political interest of the government, the fallouts are as varied as they are injurious to the health of the economy.

We are appalled that matters pertaining to the banking sector could be treated the way we are beginning to see after the BoG's clampdown.

Even as the apex bank continues to restore sanity in the banking sector, especially ensuring that those whose operations are not in tandem with acceptable norms are weeded out, we would not be surprised at how the subject will be jumped at by those under whose watch the anomalies were perpetrated.

Partisan politics would soon rear its ugly head in the subject under review as politicians desperately seeking electoral leverages impute so many things to the action of the BoG.

We appreciate the action of the BoG which is only intended to ensure that the banking sector does not fall over the precipice. There would be no sense in shutting down companies which, after all, employ Ghanaians and adhere to existing norms. When, however, rules are trampled upon with such impunity as the economy eventually suffers wantonly, the best and acceptable option is what the BoG has exacted.

We are surprised that the GN Bank in particular was able to siphon $62m out of the country and on the blind side of the supervisory authorities. We would be interested in having the subject investigated thoroughly so that the necessary sanctions are applied where necessary. Such an investigation would go a long way in allowing us access to the factors which facilitated the breaches.

After all such breaches the GN apparently leading the pack of defaulters, as it were, has mustered the courage to accuse the BoG of acting egregiously.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom's rebuttal of the apex bank's premises which informed its action cannot stand. We, like others, cannot be convinced that an apex bank such as BoG would take an action based on flimsy premises when indeed everything about its operations are under the watch of international financial institutions including the World Bank.

It is very easy to convince Ghanaians regarding the siphoning of so much money out of the country as the GN Bank did in contravention of existing standards. The bank either did it or did not. Let Dr. Nduom come out clear on this and stop rambling about.

When the time comes to apply the appropriate sanctions, we wish that self-appointed societal cops would be able to suppress their political instincts and be on the side of the patriots and the truth. Institutions such as financial ones must operate within existing regulations otherwise there would be chaos.

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