Business News of 2013-12-13

Organized labour Caution Sale Of Merchant bank

Organized labour has finally added its voice to calls on the board of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the Bank of Ghana to suspend the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz Equity Fund for further investigations.

Organized labour is therefore asking SSNIT, the major shareholder in Merchant Bank to rather restructure the bank’s management.

At a media briefing in Accra,the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Kofi Asamoah warned SSNIT and Bank of Ghana not to rush in approving the Merchant Bank sale to Fortiz without following due diligence.

He also emphasized the need for SSNIT and Bank of Ghana to suspend transactions to allow further investigations into the matter.

“After a careful study of the transaction and taking into account the concerns expressed by workers also contributors to SSNIT which is the majority shareholder of merchant bank, it will be prudent that SSNIT board and the Bank of Ghana suspend the transaction to allow further investigation into the matter.”

In his opinion, Merchant bank has a potential to recover from its current distress position.

“SSNIT should therefore make the necessary arrangements to recapitalize and restructure the bank’s management in particular to ensure its viability. In the meantime all efforts should be made by Merchant bank to recover all its outstanding loans. We strongly believe that if these measures are taken, workers and the public’s agitation over the transaction will be minimized and calm restored,” Mr. Asamoah added

According to Mr. Asamoah, organized labour demands a full disclosure of the ownership of Fortiz equity fund and its sources of funding for the transaction.

He also assured employees of Merchant Bank that organised labour will ensure that the interests and rights of Merchant Bank will be safeguarded.

“We like to assure the workers of Merchant Bank that their interest is protected and their rights fully respected. We will also like to assure contributors of SSNIT, majority of whom are our members that we the leadership of organized labour will protect their interest at all times and that any attempt to jeopardize the viability and the sustainability of SSNIT in general will be vehemently resisted.”