July 22, 2022

BoG Foreign Reserve Is $7B; Finance Committee Chairman Amends After Approval Of $750M Loan

The Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng has told the House that the report the committee presented stating that the Foreign Reserves of the Bank of Ghana had reduced from $9 billion to $3 billion, is an error.

This comes after the House, in a panic that the country might go bankrupt in a few months, approved a $750 million loan facility agreement between the Bank of Ghana and the Africa Export-Import Bank upon hearing that the reserves of the BoG had dwindled to $3 billion.

Agyeman Kwarteng noted that as of the end of June, the BoG’s international reserves stood at US$7.6 billion.

“The agreement between the government of Ghana and the Africa Export-Import Bank for a maximum of $750 million to finance capital and growth-related expenditures in the 2022 budget statement. In that report, we reported that the International reserves of the Bank of Ghana had declined from US$9 billion to US$3 billion. Mr. Speaker, this was an error. It was an unfortunate oversight.

“According to the Bank of Ghana, the gross international reserves of the country were US$9.7 billion at the close of December 2021. This declined to US$7.68 billion at the close of June 2022. In terms of net international reserves, the country closed December 2021 with US$6.08 billion. This position declined to US$3.58 billion at the close of June 2022.”

The Obuasi West constituency MP, therefore, urged the House to update its records in that regard.

Reacting to this, the minority’s Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, felt he had been swayed to approve the loan agreement.

“Mr Speaker, I cannot just accept my chairman’s statement indicating that it is an error and we should just accept it. This matter did not just come up, it was the Minister of Finance who said it and we concluded on this matter. I got swayed to support the loan agreement on the basis of what the Minister responsible for Finance told us so if he comes here to tell us he is changing what the minister said, then I am changing my position.”

He also demanded that the Bank of Ghana report to the committee on its activities instead burdening the Finance Minister with it.

“Since this Parliament, Mr Speaker, we’ve not had the opportunity to report to your house. There is foreign exchange reserves and the foreign exchange position of this country. It is the Central Bank’s responsibility, to be submitting report to us and for us to be able to look at it and probably report to you the same.”

He further held that a mere statement cannot amend a committee’s report, therefore, the Minister for Finance or the BoG must appear before the committee to effect the “error” statement.

Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini

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