Bank of Ghana wants review of retention accounts of extractive companies

Government has been asked to review existing agreements and direct all mining, oil and gas companies to open and operate retention accounts with Bank of Ghana or resident banks.

The Bank of Ghana recommends that all new retention agreements should require retention accounts to be opened and operated with domestic banks.

‘The Bank of Ghana would guarantee the availability of foreign exchange, deposited with it, to the account holders within 24 hours of request,’ said a statement issued by the Financial Stability Department of the Bank on the review of recent foreign exchange measures.

The Bank has also recommended the streamlining of management and technical service fees under LI.1547 (1992) paid to multinationals.

The statement said the financial services regulator will engage the GIPC, Ghana Freeze Zones Board, Minerals Commission, Ministry of Energy and Mines and other stakeholders in this regard.

In its bid to curtail the fall of the local currency, the Cedi, against major foreign currencies, the Bank in February 2014 reviewed the operations of foreign exchange accounts (FEA) and foreign currency accounts (FCA), as well as the Repatriation of Export Proceeds and imposed Additional Operating Procedures for Forex Bureaux in Ghana.

This exercise is pursuance of the Bank of Ghana’s mandate under the Foreign Exchange Act 2006 (Act 723).

Foreign accounts holders are now allowed to withdraw at least not more than $1000 at the counter, whilst cash withdrawals over the counter from FEA and FCA shall only be permitted for travel purposes outside Ghana and shall not exceed US$10,000 or its equivalent in convertible foreign currency, per person per travel.

The Bank says it will continue to monitor the implementation of the measures and take further actions if necessary.

‘The Bank, in collaboration with the relevant authorities, will take additional measures aimed at plugging foreign exchange leakages and improving supply of foreign exchange into the markets,’ said the statement.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

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