President of policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe has called on government to shutdown the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC).
He argued that the centre which was established with the motive of alleviating poverty has not lived up to expectation.
According to Mr. Cudjoe, MASLOC and its related social intervention programmes often “tend to become scams.”
“…These schemes unfortunately by their nature tend to become scams. And it is quite worrying. So for us, those who believe in prudent financial management, we said shut these things down because this is not the first time MASLOC has been in the news and it’s getting us worried,” he said on Cit FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday.
MASLOC is currently in the news for procuring some 350 vehicles meant for drivers belonging to the GPRTU, but were rejected by the union because it was said to be “too expensive.”
MASLOC was established primarily to provide micro and small loans for start-ups and small businesses to enable them to grow and expand.
In the past few years, it has been involved in the sale of cars on credit to individuals and groups including Members of Parliament, musicians and celebrities; however, it is challenged with retrieving the monies owed it.
Some have viewed it as a business that ends up rewarding political party members.
The management of MASLOC has so far confiscated 350 of such vehicles, and is currently in the process of retrieving the monies believed to be over GHc100 million.
Franklin Cudjoe lamented that, although MASLOC has veered off its core mandate because some of its beneficiaries are well to do people hence the centre should be scrapped.
“President Kufuor established MASLOC as one of those entities to help alleviate poverty, and there have been a number of poverty alleviation programmes which invariably, the stories have been that they never really did the alleviation. In fact, if they alleviate anything at all, it was mismatch, because it was only alleviating the poverty of the people who introduce the programmes. I’m happy that the list will come; you will clearly see exactly people who shouldn’t be actually benefiting from those loans, are the ones who had benefited from the loans,” he said.
The President of the policy think tank further decried political interference at MASLOC.
“Unfortunately, the politics of MASLOC, given the fact that it is a creature of the presidency, because it reports directly under the presidency, makes it difficult to prevent those kinds of interference. It is easy to say we won’t allow these things to happen again, but the very structure is questionable,” he added.
But the Deputy Chief Executive of MASLOC, Maame Afia Akoto, who was also speaking on The Big Issue disagreed with the shutting down of the centre.