Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Credibility of indigenous banks

The recent exposures of fraudulent deals in the Ghanaian banking institutions will have some negative effects on the banks' credibility and the deals have shaken the very confidence of their customers. What has happened to Ghanaian banks are also common with other indigenous banks in West Africa.

Banking activities in West Africa began in Nigeria in 1892 when a banking company was set up. Lack of qualified personnel and customers compelled the bank to fold up.

In 1894 the first expatriate bank was set up in Nigeria and it was called the British Bank of West Africa (BBWA). The bank introduced a modern and effective banking system into Nigeria and West Africa. It was able to rekindle the confidence the customers lost in 1892.

During the currency change in Nigeria in 1984 the First Bank was the only bank which could serve all its customers while the customers of the indigenous banks stood in the sun for weeks.

Banking activities began in Ghana in 1895 when the first expatriate bank was set up, and since then other expatriate and indigenous banks have sprung up. The expatriate banks introduced modern banking system into Ghana and their credibility, efficiency and sense of responsibility cannot be doubted.

Ghana Commercial Bank was the first indigenous bank to be set up in the country about thirty years ago. The bank has many branches throughout the country.

The PNDC regime set up the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution made up of junior staff of government departments, financial institutions and state corporations. The activities of the members of the CDRs have led to the breakdown of discipline in the society.

The members of the CDRs have more say in the management of state- owned enterprises than the senior staff. The absolute power given to the junior workers has corrupted them absolutely and as a result instead of defending the revolution, they have launched very serious attacks on the poor foundation of the 'revolution'.

The three persons who were executed for duping Ghana Commercial Bank of the sum of 56.8 million cedis included a branch chairman of the CDRS (Talking Drums, of June 3, 1985) there was another withdrawal of over 37m cedis from the Central Bank of Ghana.

The Ghanaian Times editorial of June 6 1985 (Talking Drums of June 24 1985) which attempted to convince Ghanaians that fraudulent deals go on in the expatriate banks in Ghana did not succeed. The paper rather confirmed that corruption which the PNDC regime claims to have eradicated from the society still exists.

If the 'Times' had attempted to find out the causes of the unprecedented corruption under the PNDC regime it would have probably come to the conclusion that the government has failed totally to motivate the people, and until things improve, corruption would not go away.

James Serebour, West Germany

Improving education

The child's formal education in Ghana under the PNDC regime is no longer a right but a privilege. Under high cost of education the parents will expect that their children are given the best so that the lowering of standards in the educational institutions will improve.

There is a lot the PNDC regime can do to justify its aim of making the education of the child a privilege.

During the Acheampong regime highly qualified Ghanaian teachers went to Nigeria in their numbers when the economic situation became unbear- able. Many schools were without ade- quate teachers and the Ghana Education service recruited pupil teachers to fill all the vacancies created by the mass exodus.

When the exodus of teachers began, several salary adjustments were made to induce the remaining teachers to stay and to attract the newly trained teachers into the service. After the quit order in Nigeria in January 1983 most of the teachers willingly came back to teach.

The PNDC regime has now caused another exodus and Ghanaian teachers have been sent to Niger and Libya. According to Mr Nicholas Asante, Director of Secondary Education of the Ghana Education Service "the recruitment is on secondment a programme aimed at offering the teachers an opportunity to attain certain basic necessities after which they will return with stability of mind to continue their services" (Talking Drums, December 10, 1984).

The PNDC and the Ghana Education service should stop that exodus and improve the condition of service of the teachers in the country so that they can give of their best in order that the deteriorating standards in the educational institutions will improve.

The PNDC should supply all the necessary teaching and learning materials to the educational institutions before the beginning of the next academic year. Parents find it very difficult to get even text books to buy and the few available books are sold at very high prices which most parents cannot afford to buy.

In most of the urban areas govern- ment supplied text books are publicly displayed for sale by the wayside book- sellers. Lack of adequate teaching materials have frustrated the teachers so they decide when and what to teach their children.

The role which headteachers play in the administration of the elementary schools cannot be overemphasized. They serve as links between their schools, the community in which they serve and the education office. The responsibility allowances paid to them are not enough to meet the expenses.

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has appealed passionately to all the remaining Ghanaian teachers serving in Nigeria to come home to help with the national reconstruction efforts (Talking Drums of June 3, 1985). These teachers are not part of the PNDC sponsored exodus so the years these teachers spent in Nigeria will be considered as break of service.

The GES, GNAT and the PNDC should work together to consider the plight of teachers who served in Nigeria and are now in Ghana and are prepared to go back to the service.

K.S. Owusu-Appiah, West Germany

Partial presenter

Now that I have read what Hilton Fyle thinks of Mr Rawlings and the gratuitous praise he heaped on him and the PNDC, I will know how to take Net- work Africa programmes on the BBC World Service.

I had been under the impression that a man in his position was supposed to be impartial. Would he say similar things about any government in the United Kingdom where he lives? Will he heap praise on Mrs Thatcher or Mr Neil Kinnock if and when he becomes the Prime Minister of Britain?

Hilton Fyle must be the only person who has visited Ghana recently and did not hear anything about the widespread corruption among people in high places.

Augustine Asante London

talking drums 1985-07-15 guinea sekou toure's legacy - writing for young africa