The Minority in Parliament has raised a red flag over the government’s recent move to either merge the National Investment Bank (NIB) with the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) or potentially collapse NIB altogether.
This initiative, aimed at creating the National Development Bank to address the struggles faced by both financial institutions, has sparked controversy and allegations of a hidden agenda.
Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Isaac Adongo, addressed the media in Parliament on Thursday, September 28, accusing the government of using the merger as a pretext to sell off the two banks to government cronies. Adongo asserted that this maneuver is part of a broader state capture effort, driven by motives other than the best interests of NIB.
“It is clear that this is not about the interest of NIB. This is the last step towards passing through the back door to acquire NIB and ADB for themselves in a state capture,” Adongo declared during the press conference.
The Minority has called on the government to address the debt owed to the bank and implement measures to ensure its sustainability.
Adongo proposed a debt restructuring plan that involves swapping NIB’s debts owed to the government for equity, stating, “Government should just restructure the balance sheet of NIB to swap all the NIB debt that it owes to the government and give government equity. The money is already sitting there. Commit to saying that this is my contribution towards capitalization so that we issue shares to you and move the money to equity.”
Adongo further highlighted concerns about the potential loss of approximately 800 jobs if the merger proceeds as planned, as well as the outstanding payments to contractors engaged by NIB for government projects. He criticized Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta’s refusal to settle these outstanding debts, which has contributed to NIB’s financial woes.
The government’s proposed merger of NIB and ADB has ignited a fierce debate in Parliament, with the Minority demanding transparency and accountability in the process while raising concerns about the fate of these financial institutions and the broader implications for the country’s banking sector.