Ken Ofori-Atta, The Minister-designate for Finance
The Minister-designate for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has revealed the government is bringing a new financial institution to be known as the National Development Bank (NDB) intended to bring more resources into the country.
According to him, the main function of the super bank would be to mobilise resources for the existing state banks, such as the National Investment Bank (NIB) and the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB), to be channeled into agriculture and industries for sustainable development.
Answering questions before the Appointments Committee of Parliament last Friday, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the NDB, which was expected to be a wholesale bank just like KFW in Germany, would be for the benefit of the country’s economy.
“We are creating a new National Development Bank which will be a wholesale bank that will be able to raise funds to be able to support the various financial institutions in Ghana,” the minister-designate stated.
He said Ghana needed to leverage on its attractiveness in the international market, giving the challenge to the country’s savings and its capacity for domestic revenue mobilization, to be able to build up.
Responding to criticisms that little attention had been given to NIB and ADB, Mr. Ofori-Atta indicated that “the issue about mistakes in the past does not mean we shouldn’t be innovative in the future. If you look at the financial landscape, you will realise that, yes, the banks are doing better.”
“Through guts we have been able to save some indigenous banks that are also operating. The question then is how they get increasing capital,” he asked rhetorically, and added that ADB was supported to stand on its feet, and that the government intended to give some resources also to NIB.
“And therefore ADB will concentrate on agriculture, while NIB will concentrate on industry and the NDB will be a wholesale bank almost like KFW in Germany which then has the capacity to bring in resources from outside to be able to channel into these organisations that we are talking about,” he noted.
Banking sector clean-up
The Finance Minister-designate intimated that the banking sector cleanup was a good initiative by the government, which saved deposits of over 4.5million customers of the various insolvent banks and other financial institutions.
According to him, the exercise has strengthened the existing banks, which he said was good for the national economy, insisting, “We think we have done the best that the country deserves and the results show that.”
“We have a much stronger banking sector now than we had in 2017,” he said, and pointed out the banking sector cleanup was done without targeting any specific individuals as has been pushed by the opposition.
The nominee stated that the Mahama government and former management of the Bank of Ghana had identified the rot in the sector through research and therefore, the Akufo-Addo’s administration, after taking over, simply followed through with the processes for the cleanup.
“To be clear that, this was not a policy that was looking to target individuals. The rot was known, cleaning the stables had to be done, and we took up the challenge for that. We have seen the results have been good so far,” he stressed.
He added, “The AQRs (Applied Quantitative Research) were done prior to the time we came and even as the former President articulated the problem so clearly, there was still the issue of will and courage to move forward with that and that is what President Akufo-Addo came to do with the new management of Bank of Ghana.”
For him, the government would have appreciated it if the minority had thrown their support to the cleanup exercise since the problem was identified during their time in power.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House