Business News of 2013-11-13

Gov't wants to take Merchant Bank from Ghanaians - Awuni

Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni, says there is a deliberate agenda to sell off Ghana's Merchant Bank to some people no matter the resistance Ghanaians mount against the plan.

Speaking on Multi TV's PM Express, he says the argument that the bank is saddled with "bad and doubtful debt" hence its sale cannot be tenable.

The Central Bank recently announced Fortiz as the new owners of Merchant Bank after the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) offloaded its majority stake in the bank.

According the Bank of Ghana, Merchant Bank's is saddled with huge debt which stood at GHC186m as at May 2013. But ardent opponent of the deal, Awuni says the debtors of Merchant Bank who are "visible and identifiable" have not shown any sign of being unable to pay back huge loans they took.

"In fact, they are actually venturing into new businesses and have also not filed for bankruptcy", he added. This Andrew Awuni says means the debt is "recoverable".

He explained that SSNIT did not offload its majority shares from Merchant Bank because it was "a poor institution". He revealed that the Pensions Trust has recently invested in an airline company, Africa World Airlines.

"They [SSNIT] are doing new things" he added. "Somebody or some people want to get Merchant Bank and they will take it from Ghanaians whether we like it or not", Mr Awuni observed.

Falling short of mentioning names, he said those behind the deal do not fear public opposition to the deal and are determined to go ahead with the deal.

The Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy lamented how an asset of the state created from pensions contributions of ordinary Ghanaians could be given out "with impunity".

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