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General News
Workers march against sale of ADB 9/13/2007
Accra, Sept. 13, GNA - Workers on Thursday staged a demonstration against the proposed sale of the Central Bank''s 48 per cent share in the Agricultural Development Bank, as pressure mounted on the government to abandon the proposal.

Scores of members of the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) started the demonstration at Tema and ended in Accra.

The demonstrators, accompanied by brass band music, presented a petition protesting against the proposed sale of the shares to Nana Akomea, Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment.

The Chairman of the TDCL, Mr Wilson Agana said previous sales of state enterprises such as Ghana Airways had not yielded any dividends and ADB must not be allowed to suffer the same fate.

A number of Banks, including Stanbic Bank, have expressed the desire to buy the shares, but this has been met by the wave of protests from the workers of the Bank, civil society, TUC and political parties. Mr. Agana said it was important that workers'' concerns and interests were taken into consideration, adding that the march was therefore in support of the resistance by the TUC against government''s intention to sell the shares and mobilize public support among workers and farmers.

Nana Akomea told the demonstrators that he had been asked by President John Agyekum Kufuor to receive the petition and he would hand it over to Cabinet, which was meeting on Thursday. He said he wanted to dialogue and had therefore called a meeting with the TUC next week to discuss the issues. The TDCL has dismissed arguments that ADB needed a total amount of 250 million dollars instead of its current 66 million dollars to operate effectively.

"It is important to point out that this argument is flawed because it is not possible for any financial institution in the world to always have the ability to raise the needed capital required for a specific project," the TDCL said.

"We cannot simply for the purpose of improving efficiency, assume that ADB should be sold to a private foreign strategic interest." Last month TDCL gave government a two-week ultimatum to rescind its intended decision to sell the 48 percent shares of ADB, or members would take to the streets.

Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, former Senior Minister who supports the sale of the Central Bank''s shares, has said what is at stake in the debate of off-loading the shares of the Bank of Ghana ADB is not a simple "sale" but a "reorganisation" of the Bank so that it would have more strength to serve the interests of the farming community and the operators of small and medium-scale industry throughout Ghana. He said whatever the achievements of the ADB in the past 50 years, it was manifest that today, with a net worth of just US$66 million, that it was in no position to cater adequately for the urgent need to modernize and re-equip Ghanaian agriculture.

"That need for agricultural transformation was the sole purpose for establishing the ADB with state resources. "And indeed, most of those resources were being contributed by these same farmers and self-employed entrepreneurs: so it was also a matter of equity to extend to them the benefits of the nation''s financial system."

13 Sept. 07Source:
GNA

 
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