By Cecil Mensah
A group calling itself Citizens in support of Good Corporate Governance, has thrown its support behind the Initial Public Offer (IPO) of Agriculture Development Bank (ADB), one of the country’s leading agricultural finance banks to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).
According to the group, it has observed with concern, the decision of the Government of Ghana to okay the bank’s ongoing process of listing on the GSE.
The group said, the IPO would make ADB majority privately owned, speaking at a press conference in Accra, Mr. Toma Imirhe, Spokes person of the group added.
He said, over the past couple of weeks, workers of the bank, through its union leadership, have made some highly publicized public statements in effect criticizing the implementation of the IPO and making allegations against the top management of the bank, particularly focusing on its Managing Director (MD), Mr Stephen Kpodzih.
He said, the public campaign was ultimately aimed at halting the impending IPO that was meant to privatize the bank.
“We are worried that the next step will aim at coercing the government into abandoning the sale altogether.
The fact that this is being done in a roundabout way, rather than an open agenda, has in our opinion raised our suspicions as to the true nature of the agenda being pursued by the workers”, he said.
He said, the group has critically examined the issues raised by the workers and more importantly the implications of the ongoing action of the workers and the reaction of government.
“Our conclusions are worrying to say the least, we therefore deem it necessary to make them public and take an active stand against the fulfillment of the agenda pushed by the workers, most of whom, we believe are simply being ignorantly used by their union leaders.
The union leaders are being used by vested interests who would wish to see ADB remain under the state’s control”
The group pointed out this agenda appears to be that of a certain power brokers who are pushing their own personal business interests, rather than that of the government.
It is instructive to note that neither the executive arm of government, nor the Bank of Ghana, which is a major shareholder have expressed their intension to abandon their shares sales as planned he said .
The group expressed concerns about how the campaign to halt the IPO process had been; workers have vehemently declared their opposition to the privatization of the bank.
The group said the argument that ADB should remain a development bank no longer holds water, as its fortunes over the past two decades shows clearly that, it’s agriculture sector support mandate coupled with government influence has forced the bank to reduce its loan exposure to the agriculture sector of the economy.
The statement called on the government to reconsider the issues and the circumstances surrounding the IPO and not let the ongoing campaign by the workers and their shadowy behind -the -scenes sponsors derail the well -plotted way forward for ADB.