Opinions Thu, 26 Apr 2018

BOG’s bitter yet necessary pills

We have observed with satisfaction efforts by the country’s apex bank to give a bill of good health to an ailing banking sector thereby restoring a dwindling public confidence in it.

Likening the sector to one being prepared for admission into an intensive care unit of a health facility is an apt simile under the circumstances.

The negative stories about the sector in the past few months have not helped the image of the economy in general at a time when the President and his team are busy wooing investors into the country.

That the Bank of Ghana has expectedly waded into the mess through the strict application of the rules governing joint stock outfits as it has done, is an indication of its responsiveness to the disturbance in the sector.

A hint about the unhealthy state of the banking industry was dropped when during a lecture ahead of the last elections, then running mate to Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, said eight banks were on the verge of collapse.

An assortment of factors have led to the current state of affairs and therefore requiring the cracking of the whip by the apex bank: bad corporate and political governance are definitely responsible for the malaise including poor supervision by the Bank of Ghana.

These are heady times in the banking industry. The Bank of Ghana cannot afford to let the people of Ghana down by being apathetic when what is happening is clearly its responsibility to address and effectively, no matter whose ox is gored. Its ability to administer the required pills and in the appropriate dosage to make the needed difference would define the success or otherwise of its management.

It would appear that no Governor of the apex bank has ever been so pushed to change things around within the shortest possible time in the face of a crisis.

With various economic policies now streaming, such an essential arm of the economy, the banking sector, should be exuding good signals about its health status.

With the management of one of the banks now in the hands of an administrator, pretending that all is well cannot be acceptable, not now.

Working to operationalise the deposit protection scheme as enshrined under the Ghana Deposit Protection Law (Act) 931, 2016) as stated by the apex bank is the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances and against the backdrop of the implementation of ongoing government policies.

It is a truism that the enforcement regime before now has been anything but effective or even operative. The outcome has been the hydra-headed drawbacks which have impugned upon the integrity of the banking sector.

The managers of the apex bank must be active in their application of the rules without which the sector would be thrown into an uncontrollable downward spiral.

Pleading for an extension of the December 2018 deadline for the fulfillment of the capitalisation requirement by the banks as demanded by the apex bank is to underestimate the nature of the indisposition of the sector.

Such interventions as the ‘fit and proper person’ guidelines for shareholders, directors and others might sound draconian, they nonetheless are necessary to alter the negative course of the industry and the general integrity of the financial sector as a whole.

Columnist: dailyguideafrica.com
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