Ghana: Finance Ministry debunks claims of making Bank of Ghana print ¢22b

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The Ministry of Finance has denied allegations of encouraging the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to print an amount of GH¢22 billion without parliamentary approval.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, Deputy Finance Minister, Dr John Kumah, stated that the claims are baseless and false.

He therefore urged the public to “treat the allegations with a pinch of salt.”

His comment comes against the backdrop of former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson accusing the government of encouraging the Bank of Ghana to print an amount of GH¢22 billion without parliamentary approval.

According to Dr. Forson, the fresh currency notes were printed between January and June 2022.

The information, according to Dr Forson, is hidden on page 97 of Appendix 2a of the Mid-year budget under the section on Bank of Ghana.

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“They have printed GH¢22 billion fresh money without the knowledge of Parliament and without informing all of us,” he said while addressing the press on Monday.

However, Mr Kumah explained that the Bank of Ghana is legally mandated to grant overdraft to government.

“Section 30 of the Bank of Ghana Act allows central government and BoG to operate on overdraft basis. It is within the laws of this country, and so on the Bank of Ghana’s own balance sheet, they can give overdraft to government as a loan which can be repaid within a specified period.”

The Deputy Finance Minister went on to say that this is not the first time any governor has given an overdraft to government.

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“When he [Dr Ato Forson] was Deputy Minister, Bank of Ghana supported the Ministry of Finance and Government of Ghana with the same arrangement within the Bank of Ghana Act so what has changed that today we are told that the new economics from NDC is that when Bank of Ghana gives overdraft to Government of Ghana it is called printing of money ..?” he quizzed.

He also clarified that the information was not hidden as stated by the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee.

 

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has demanded that the alleged ¢22 billion printed by the Central Bank be added to the current debt stock of the country.

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The Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson said adding that to the debt stock, which is ¢393 billion, will shoot it over 90%.

According to Mr Forson, conversations he has heard suggest that the government seeks to categorise the amount as an overdraft.

“This 22 billion is not part of the debt. So the debt number that they have reported of 393 billion excludes the 22 billion,” he said in Parliament today.

He insisted that “even if it is an overdraft, why is it not part of the public debt.”

 

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