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The government of Ghana will complete the merger of Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. and National Investment Bank Ltd. before  2018 ends.

This happens as the central bank’s Dec. 31 deadline for lenders to meet a new minimum-capital requirement approaches.

The government will inject ¢400 million ($82 million) to bolster the merged entity, Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta said Monday in an interview in the capital, Accra.

Bringing the two lenders together will save government money because it would have had to pay ¢700 million to recapitalize them separately, he said.

The merger is due to the need to create a stronger state bank that can support the government’s drive to expand industrial activity, Ofori-Atta said in August.

President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration seeks to boost economic growth by making it easier for companies to do business and by building more factories.

The Bank of Ghana more than tripled the minimum-capital requirement to ¢400 million in August last year.

Agricultural Development Bank reverted to state control in July when the central bank annulled deals for more than half of its shares following an initial public offering in 2016.

National Investment Bank is owned 97 percent by government.

Meanwhile, the Professional and Managerial Staff Union (PMSU) of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) have expressed their opposition to the suggested merger between the Bank and the National Investment Bank (NIB).

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The PMSU said the ADB was strong and had the muscle and all the human resource capital it required to stand alone and to run the Bank profitably and sustainably.

Mr. James Obeng-Gyan, the Chairman of the ADB PMSU, revealed this at the ADB PMSU/Local Union of the Union of Commerce, Industry and Finance Workers (UNICOF) Joint National Executive Council Meeting at the weekend in Accra.

The meeting was on the theme: “Ensuring Sustainable Growth of ADB: The Role of the Unions.”

Mr. Obeng-Gyan said looking at the balances of the two institutions, the ADB was much stronger than the NIB in terms of profit.

He said the ADB had lots of outstanding facilities valued at not less than GHC 300 million with Unibank and the Sovereign Bank, which were taken over by the government to form the Consolidated Bank.

“We believe that government, by taking over these banks, has the responsibility of both its assets and liabilities and should pay ADB its debt to make it stand on its own,” Mr. Obeng-Gyan said.

“It would be good that the Government comes in to support ADB with this funds whilst we also chase other customers who have defaulted in our loan facilities.”