Dr. Benjamin Amoah
In an attempt to plug foreign exchange leakages and improve the supply of foreign exchange in the country, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) is collaborating with some government agencies to initiate steps toward networking banks and forex bureaus.
Dr. Benjamin Amoah, Head of Financial Stability Department, BoG, who disclosed this in a statement read at a recent press conference, said the initiative was to eliminate any abuses.
Dr. Amoah said BoG was in the process of making recommendations to government to review existing agreements and direct all mining, and oil & gas companies to open and operate retention accounts with the Bank of Ghana or resident banks.
‘All new retention agreements should require retention accounts to be opened and operated with domestic banks.
‘BoG would guarantee the availability of foreign exchange, deposited with it to the account holders within 24 hours of request,’ he said.
Dr. said Amoah the Central Bank will also recommend the streamlining of management and technical service fees under LI.1547 (1992) paid to multinationals, adding that BoG will engage the GIPC, Ghana Freeze Zones Board, Minerals Commission, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and other stakeholders in this regard.
‘We will recommend the lodgment of foreign exchange proceeds of government agencies such as GNPC and project funds from donors with the Bank of Ghana instead of keeping them with off-shore banks,’ he said.
He said the Bank will engage the Ghana Chamber of Commerce to use the Certificate of Origin issued by the Chamber to monitor repatriation of export proceeds.
‘We observed that some banks were misinterpreting and misapplying some of the measures. For example, transfers of funds from abroad that were not generated from activities that took place in Ghana such as transfers to embassies, other diplomatic missions, individuals and businesses, were to go into Foreign Current Accounts (FCAs) and are therefore not subject to the conversion and retention arrangements,’ he said.
Dr. Amoah said, ‘Such funds are to be held in foreign exchange and utilized at the discretion of the recipients. However, these transfers were, at times, converted on arrival, a clear misapplication of the measure.’
‘This may be contrasted with transfers to make payment for a service, e.g. legal, consultancy, transportation, or financial service rendered by residents (Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians). Such transfers should go into FEAs because they are export receipts and are therefore subject to existing conversion and retention arrangements,’ he said.
By Cephas Larbi
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