The fallout from UT, Capital Banks collapse and other matters

The collapse of UT, Capital Banks dominated the news last week. Here's a review of that and other matters.

Their distress appears upsetting, considering they are indigenous start-ups and the fear that some of the over 2,000 employees might lose their jobs. Thus, it becomes quite unfortunate that some Ghanaians would heavily troll the two banks on social media after their misfortune.

One might say that Ghanaians love to make fun of everything and so it's no big deal. But, looking at the reaction of the Board Chairman of one of the defunct banks shows the gravity of the issue.

Pastor Mensah Otabil's response to all the mockery and ridicule clearly reveals the tough time he had been through and perhaps sums up what the feeling is like to have a business suddenly go down the drain.

But should the Amoatengs and the Otabils be solely blamed for the collapse of their respective banks? For some industry players, the Bank of Ghana cannot escape blame for what happened, as they appeared to have glossed over the initial challenges of the two banks even though they were all the while aware of the banks’ inability to recapitalise.

Besides, many feel that instead of the BoG forcefully assuming control of the two banks and selling to GCB Bank, it could have considered the alternative of regulatory capital injection as a lender of last resort.

And that is why perhaps the BoG’s statement that it may prosecute members of the management of the two collapsed banks if found culpable seems annoying to others.

As a social innovator, Bright Simons asked: “If these banks were indeed engaged in any conduct deserving of prosecution, as opposed to being mere victims of business misfortune, why then was the directive recapitalisation instead of removal of management and directors?

"Does that mean that if shareholders had found some awoof money to reinject, everything would have been okay and matters allowed to settle?"

Meanwhile, another school of thought has described the situation as the mismanagement of the rich being paid the poor. Why are they saying so? Because GCB is owned by Ghanaians (most of their monies come from taxes and pension deductions) and so it is the taxpayer that is going to pay for the liabilities of the rich after mismanaging their businesses.

But going forward, we should perhaps look at scaling down the over 30 banks we have in this country to improve financial operations. Many of the numerous banks we have now do not have enough capital and so why won’t they rather start thinking about consolidation for us to have a few banks?

Moreover, the government can also do more by providing an enabling environment for the financial sector to work with.

In the same vein, the government should provide a suitable environment for teachers in the country and forget about the licensing programme it intends to introduce for the teachers.

The Ghana Education Service announced last week that plans were far advanced to license teachers in order to take away the “bad” ones from the system. But isn’t this surprising, considering it is the same GES that employs these “bad” teachers? Don’t they ensure that a teacher has the requisite qualities before they are given the job?

I wouldn’t want to believe that teachers are afraid to write exams. Their fear could be the impunity that could be associated with the whole process. Even though it is good to license teachers as is being done in other countries, it should not be a priority. Afterall, aren’t private schools employing “unqualified” teachers yet their students perform far better than the public schools with “qualified” teachers?

So the answer simply is not licensing, but the quality of education provided. If the training given to teachers at their various institutions of study is not good enough, then the license exam will not be any better.

What will be the significance of the exam if teachers are not taken through adequate in-service training to be acquainted with new teaching methods, or are not supervised or given the right tools and learning materials to work with? These are but a few of the things the government should consider before thinking of licensing teachers.

Likewise, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) should consider solving the backs and forth among their founder and some leading members of the party before solely focusing on their ideological school.

This past week, the founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings responded to the attacks meted out to him by a former deputy chief of staff Valerie Sawyerr, describing her as a woman who lacked integrity and one who should be ignored.

But Valerie immediately hit back, mocking the former president over his integrity claims and saying that his words didn’t make sense.

These attacks might not augur well for the party and it is high time the leadership of the party paid a listening ear to what’s going on and find a solution.

As it appears, the current government has listened to the cry of the people and has decided to abandon the plan to charge motorists a compulsory levy for towing services.

The government said it will now limit itself to licensing and regulating towing service providers. But, it will examine new modalities for dealing with the problem of broken down vehicles.

And oh, can I say that the Chale Wote Street Art Festival event this year did not really live up to expectation? Social wise, it was a success, but art wise, I doubt. Nothing extraordinary for me though, apart from being shoved from back and front over an almost two-hour journey.

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