The issue of ECOWAS and the promising nature of the Ghanaian economy had caught the attention of Nigerians to direct their capital to Ghana especially to the Banking sector. One major factor which has made this possible was the relatively high minimum Capital requirement needed to invest in the banking sector in Nigeria. Since it was difficult to raise such capital, investors in Nigeria found Ghana an attractive location to direct their capital and into an industry which is highly attractive.
For the Ghanaian administrators and policy drivers, ECOWAS market has been the major reason for pushing the integration agenda. This is an agenda which is not strategically imbibed but just for the economic reason only. One will like to know how much of the market share Ghana has as we speak today. We are very na?ve as a country on many issues. The current leaders are not the hard thinkers but are predominantly seekers of wealth for a section of the populace, underlined with lies and propaganda.
Let us also not forget that these investors are basically driven by profit motives and are not philanthropist in our country. Their primary aim is to maximize returns on their investments and this can take many forms including engaging cheap labour from our country. This posture calls for attention to First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) which acquired International Commercial Bank Ltd (ICB) in the second half of 2013.
FBN acquisition of ICB in 2013 generated lots of furore in Ghana which had to be explained by several entities including the central bank of Ghana and other persons. The coming of FBN was hailed by the staff of ICB considering the huge experience and assets at the disposal of FBN. FBN themselves made lots of promises to the employees of ICB including better remuneration and retention of the existing staff. But less than one year of operating on the Ghanaian soil, FBN has begun showing their true colours which is far different and at variance to the promises made to the existing staff of ICB.
The story began with FBN sending a team from Lagos to carry out Due Diligence on ICB which they have expressed interest to acquire. This was done to enable the existing owners and FBN to arrive at the price to pay. This team from Lagos was deemed to have done their Due Diligence upon which FBN finally acquired ICB but no sooner FBN realized some vital details including bad loans which were presented as performing loans were not disclosed to them. The losses made in the acquisition of ICB has to be visited on the existing staff by depriving them of the right remuneration and also make them work like bulls to generate that income to cover the losses made.
Assurances were given by Lagos that they were carrying out a Comprehensive Salary Review which was being undertaken by KPMG to enable them pay their employees at the same level like their competitors in the banking arena. These assurances were advanced by Lagos at the time the existing employees of ICB were legally invoking a clause in their Collective Bargaining Agreement for a Wage Opener.??As reason demands, the Wage Opener was set aside for the Comprehensive Salary Review which came with nothing to write home about.
It is a known fact that Recommendation from the Salary Review was encouraging but the staff has to be short -changed because of the losses made in the acquisition of ICB by FBN which was as a result of poor work by their team. The team did not suffer but rather innocent staff that happened to be working then with ICB has to be sacrificed.
There are moves according sources close to the bank to engage fresh hands from outside who are to benefit directly from the Salary Review exercise whiles the ??Donkeys? from ICB are to be under paid even though these two groups will be doing the same work. Since the beginning of 2014, a year in which Ghana has experienced the highest and the worst inflation in recent times,???the condition of service has remained the same even though ICB is among the least paying banks in Ghana for more than eight years.
There is one truth about working with Nigerians- they rain insults on you at any least thing. They demand very high results but do not pay commensurate rates. Abnormal targets are set for you and do not respect the individual?s privacy. The individual?s rights are infringed upon with so much disdain.
The Employees of FBN Bank Ghana are??now calling on the Regulator which is the Bank of Ghana that they are determined to demand what is due them legally and to preserve legal rights if it will cost them to lose their dear lives.
?We are also calling on our mother (the TUC) to intervene to help us invoke the Wage Opener under the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the associated rights? the workers pleaded.
They strongly believe that Ghanaians cannot go to Nigeria and treat employees which obviously will comprise majorly of Nigerians like the way they treat them here for the sake of investment. The sad aspect of the story is the role being played by some senior members of former ICB like Head, Human Resource and Head, Financial Control for their selfish gain. These people think for them to be approved by the current employer, they have to work to ditch the employees.
story by Joseph Kobla Wemakor