Commercial mango farmers operating in Northern Ghana, thus, Savannah, Upper East, Upper West, North-East and Northern Region have expressed their displeasure at the management of Exim Bank for failing to pay them their monies due them for the past four years.
The farmers in the 5 five Regions through a press conference held on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at Damongo in the Savannah Regional capital has therefore threatened to demonstrate against Exim Bank for inconsistent promises to credit the accounts of farmers after following all the necessary procedures.
According to the farmers, for the past four years payment has not been made by Exim Bank, causing the arrest of casual workers due to high debts they owed.
The farmers said Exim Bank senior staff apologized to mango farmers on October, 27, 2020 for delays in payment and promised to pay before 25th December, 2020, but until date no bank account has been credited.
The farmers reiterated that, staff of Exim Bank does not receive telephone calls or accept meetings proposed by mango farmers.
According to the farmers, there has never been any full representation of them in meetings organized by the Bank because of lack of effective between farmers and the Bank.
The farmers argued that, the vision of the Bank becoming a strong financial institution in the development Ghana’s export trade,and the mission of overseing the investments by Ghanaian companies or eliminate critical market failures in the Ghanaian economy under Act 911 of 2016, will be of failure if the current administration continues to neglect the concerns of farmers.
We therefore have to let them Know of their core objectives and thus not deviate from that, the farmers indicated.
Dr. Sibu Abdul Karim, CEO of Sibu and sons company, indicated that the bank signed offer letters since November 2020 without payment to date and the farmers don’t know where the funds has been reallocated to, he added that the Bank says they needed another approval for same offer letters which the farmers found surprising.
Majeed Zakaria, the local chairman of Commercial mango farmers association in Northern Region says, mango farmers have been highly affected because of non- payment from Exim Bank and colleague farmers have encountered series of challenges with suppliers with some in police custody for non-payment of bills.
He said the the failure of the Bank to pay them is impacting negatively on the reputation of Exim Bank since farmers are not able to pay creditors due to delays in reimbursement by the Bank.
He therefore urged the government to come to their aid or else they will hit the streets in two weeks time to express their displeasure towards the authorities of Exim Bank.
Some casual workers on the mango farms also says if the government or CEO of Exim Bank doesn’t respond positively to their employers by paying them for them to also get their allowance they will leave the farms for cattles and Fulani herdsmen.
Yakubu Adam, a casual worker indicated they never knew the Bank haven’t pay their employers as many of them have dragged their employers to the police station over delays in getting their allowances.
Mango, which the farmers says has a lot of economic benefits to the country urged the CEO of Exim Bank to pay them their monies due them and provide to them the necessary technical support to boost the production of the crop or else they hit the streets after two weeks ultimatum to express their displeasure towards the authorities of the Bank.
However, reacting to the concerns raised by the farmers, Mr Bright Darko, Head of Programs in-charge of the project at the Ghana Export Import Bank, said that, the bank paid 6 million Ghana Cedis to the farmers in November 2020, but unable to complete the rest of the payment due to lack of a board in place which supervises the payment of such monies.
“Without a board in place we cannot make payments because we will be breaching procurement processes”, he told Yagbon News.
The farmers also said there is a poor communication channel between them and the authorities which Mr Darko denied and said the association has a WhatsApp platform where all information are shared, “am therefore surprised to hear this from the farmers”, Mr Darko added.