Minority leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has expressed disappointment in the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu’s comments in reaction to the concerns raised by the minority on BoG, insisting that the majority leader either misunderstood the issues and needs to update himself, or he has chosen to embark on his usual diversionary tactics.
According to him, he has come across a publication from an interview the Majority Leader in Parliament reportedly granted to Oman FM. He indicated that per the remarks, it is either the Majority Leader, exhibits such a “gross misunderstanding” of the germane issues the minority raised about the Bank of Ghana or he has deliberately chosen to wish away the concerns of Ghanaians, as his government has always done.
“Clearly, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu either misunderstood the issues and needs to update himself, or he has chosen to embark on his usual diversionary tactics.”Dr Cassiel Ato Forson
Dr Forson maintained that the Bank of Ghana is not above the law and indeed answers to the Finance Committee of Parliament on urgent matters, as the Majority Leader alluded to. To this end, he restated the vexed concerns of the minority about the Bank of Ghana to help the Majority Leader appreciate the minority’s concerns.
“We in the NDC Minority didn’t declare the Bank of Ghana bankrupt or insolvent; its own 2022 Annual Report and Financial Statements did. According to the BoG’s own books, the Bank recorded a staggering loss of GH60.8 billion and a negative equity of GHS55.1 billion – this is unprecedented in the history of Ghana!”Dr Cassiel Ato Forson
Furthermore, Dr Forson highlighted that the BoG arrived at its historic low because the Governor, his Deputies and the Board broke their own law, the Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612) as amended.
He revealed that section 3 of this Act limits all loans and advances to the government to just 5% of the previous year’s revenue, and that despite constant warnings from the Minority in the past, the Bank of Ghana printed GH35 billion in 2021 and GH42 billion in 2022, all in contravention of their own Law.
“To make matters worse, the Bank of Ghana decided to team up with the government to write off a colossal GH48 billion of Government’s indebtedness, contrary to section 67 of the Public Financial Management Act. Someone must be held accountable for this, and the Minority in Parliament cannot be blamed for calling for this accountability.”Dr Cassiel Ato Forson
Minority rehashes position on BoG
Justifying the minority’s stance, Dr Forson equally noted that at a time when the Bank of Ghana recorded its huge loss, the BoG is putting up a new Head Office building at Ridge at an astonishing cost of $250 million. The outlandish and outrageously expensive new office building, he emphasized, is going on at a time when Ghana’s economy is under an IMF programme and “reeling” under hyperinflation caused by the BoG’s own reckless act of printing money to finance Government’s expenditure.
Moreover, the minority leader contended that the construction is ongoing at a time when Ghana has stopped servicing its domestic and external debts, and road contractors, school feeding caterers, buffer stock suppliers have all not been paid. Also, he reckoned that BoG’s own Annual Report and Financial Statement betrayed the bank’s financial recklessness and lack of sensitivity to the suffering plight of Ghanaians.
“How can one justify a Bank in this state of financial distress spending GH131.6 million on vehicle maintenance and GH97.4 million on domestic and foreign travels? Which bank in this distress will entertain capital expenditure commitments of GHS 711.21 million in 2022 alone, and actually spend between $50 million and $60 million on ultra-modern guest houses in Takoradi and Tamale? Legal claims against BOG in 2022 alone amounted to GHS 78.95 million.”Dr Cassiel Ato Forson
In light of the minority leader’s defense, he quizzed whether the Majority Leader is suggesting that it is right for the affairs of the Central Bank to be mismanaged to this level. Also, he questioned whether the majority leader is by any means suggesting that one must defend his party’s position on every single national issue, even if this is inimical to the national interest.
“Is it not intriguing and ironic that the Leadership of the Majority Caucus in Parliament and the NPP party are always quick to state that Ato Forson once worked at the Ministry of Finance and must know better? It is precisely the reason why I had the experience, foresight and vision to see and caution institutions like the Bank of Ghana a couple of years ago against the very acts that have now brought the bank on its knees.”Dr Cassiel Ato Forson