In another curious move by the Akufo Addo administration, it has released GHS3.56 billion in cash to fully settle locked up funds of depositors in the 370 microfinance companies that were collapsed by the government.
The money will be ready for the depositors from Wednesday, September 16, 2020, according to a statement from the Receiver of these defunct firms.
This allocation is despite the fact that just a few weeks ago, the government had claimed it has settled over 90% of all the locked-up funds.
The government was promptly debunked by the angry depositors who insisted the government had lied.
In the latest announcement for the release of the funds, a government statement released today read: “Notice is hereby given that with effect from Wednesday 16 September 2020, affected depositors may contact any branch of Consolidated Bank Ghana Ltd (“CBG”) the paying bank to access their newly created Cash accounts which were originally designated as Commercial Paper (Bond) accounts at the bank,” the statement from the Receiver announced.
Before now, while angry customers were demanding cash from their locked-up funds, the Akufo Addo administration insisted that a bulk of the locked monies had been converted to bonds and that they would not be paid in cash.
However, the release of GHC 3.6 billion means stranded depositors will now “receive cash payments at no discount for the Commercial Paper they have either received or is due to them.”
Critics think, the decision of the government is certainly influenced by fears caused by the promise made by ex-President John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that if elected in the December presidential polls, he will pay all the aggrieved depositors their locked funds.
Indeed, ex-President Mahama has noted that the NPP government appears to have ambushed his campaign manifesto and is currently implementing policies that are contained in the opposition party’s plans if it wins the December polls.
The Akufo Addo government’s release of the GHC 3.6 billion to settle depositors is perhaps the fourth coincidence where promises made by the NDC flagbearer are promptly latched onto by the governing New Patriotic Party.
The NDC had promised to legalise commercial motorcycles “Okada”, a trade that the NPP had insisted that it was illegal in Ghana. However, shortly after the NDC’s manifesto promise, the NPP suddenly claimed it is in “consultation” with the Okada riders to legalise the transport system.
The promise, of the NDC to scrap Teacher Licensure exams has also prompted the NPP to subtly do a rethink. The most glaring of this backflips by the Akufo Addo administration is the attempt to reverse its own ban on the importation of salvaged vehicles from abroad. The government has also started talks with private Senior High School proprietors after John Mahama promised to extend the free senior high school education to private schools.
On May 31, 2019, almost 400 microfinance companies were closed down by the government through the Bank of Ghana (BoG) as part of the infamous financial sector clean-up.
Tens of thousands of staff of these companies have been rendered jobless, while hundreds of thousands of depositors have seen their funds locked up perpetually, prompting endless protests by disgruntled depositors and customers.
These peeved customers have vowed to vote against the Akufo Addo administration in the December general elections.