UPC calls for nationalisation of Crane Bank to revive UCB

By Vicky Wandawa

The party claims UCB only failed due to a hasty privatisation regime that was allegedly forced on Uganda by donors

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Crane Bank should be nationalised and its business model reshaped to mirror that of the now defunct Uganda Commercial Bank (UCB), says Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party.

In a press release signed by the party’s spokesperson Michael Osinde Orach, although the Bank of Uganda has also stated that investors are welcome to buy the Bank, the responsibility of Government is to its citizens first and foremost.

“The Government recently admitted that the sale of the Uganda Commercial Bank was a mistake. Here we now have a readymade opportunity to reverse that mistake,” says Osinde.

The party claims that the Government should have acted hastily once it knew that Crane Bank was in a precarious financial position, and should have taken a majority stake in the Bank.

“In that way it would protect the share-holders and the public purse. Instead public funds are going to be used to shore up a bank that will inevitably be sold to an investor who may well asset-strip it and then leave the hollowed out shell for Government to return and again pick up the pieces,” reads the press release.

They continue that Uganda Commercial Bank only failed due to a hasty privatisation regime that was allegedly forced on Uganda by donors.

“In the run up to that, loans that were effectively just political patronage were made, these quickly became non-performing, thus bad debts. The same has happened at Crane Bank, where loans are also now posted as bad debts,” it reads.

The party insists that it is time now for a sober re-think over how to rebuild Uganda’s economy, and the best starting point would be to acknowledge that a mixed-economy trumps the rampant free for all that the free market model has provided.