Dr Henry Kofi Wampah
Intense pressure is mounting on the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, to vacate his seat following the faux pas with the foreign exchange rules that had worsened the depreciation of the Ghanaian cedi.
The pressure for the resignation of the Central Bank Governor is coming from some members of government and the ruling party, economic experts from the opposition parties, civil society groups and the business community.
All the critics appear to be unanimous in their verdict that Dr. Wampah has been a total failure in his position atop the Central Bank.
The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) Ranking Member on Finance and Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, recently accused the Governor of ‘sleeping on his job’ and therefore urged him to honourably resign.
The MP for Manhyia South, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, has also joined calls for Dr. Wampah to either resign or be sacked.
Dr. Prempeh, popularly called Napo, says the Governor should be fired for failing to take measures to stop the continuous fall of the cedi against the major trading currencies.
Similar calls have been made by a private legal practitioner, Dr. Maurice Ampaw and Kweku Baako Jnr, Editor in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper.
The Bank of Ghana in February, introduced measures intended to save the free fall of the cedi, but Napo believes those were ‘ill-thought- through measures’ which would worsen Ghana’s economy.
He stated that Dr. Wampah put the country through ‘unwarranted problems’ by taking certain poor decisions.
‘When I reviewed the way he handled the sale of the Merchant Bank, I thought that was good enough to leave but he didn’t…he put us through this unwarranted situation.’
He noted that Ghana recorded ‘gargantuan failure’ under his leadership, adding that a lot of non-banking financial institutions had collapsed under Wampah’s watch.
‘People have lost millions of cedis because of the weird sale of Merchant Bank and the two tier pension scheme that has been mismanaged… they cannot even account for monies that went missing. He should go so that the Bank of Ghana’s respect is not lost,’ Napo insisted.
The MP for Bibiani-Ahnwiaso-Bekwai, in the Western Region, Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, also said the Governor must go ‘for failing to halt the depreciation of the cedi’.
He believes it was about time President John Mahama took a bold decision by appointing a competent person to help solve the current economic challenges.
‘President Mahama must sack Dr. Wampah and save the cedi, if he means well for the economy; I think he [Wampah] is tired and needs rest,’ he stressed.
In February this year the Bank of Ghana introduced what it called ‘comprehensive measures’ aimed at stabilising the currency which at the time had depreciated by seven per cent from January. In the measures, businesses were not to withdraw more than US$10,000 on the counter.
In the new measure, businesses needed special permits to transact more than $10,000 or do foreign transfers. Also businesses were to repatriate all the proceeds of their exports to their local banks within 60 days of shipment in the new directives.
The measures were largely criticised as counter-productive. A former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Mahamud Bawumia, predicted that the measures would further worsen the economic situation.
Dr. Bawumia, the IMF and other credible financial institutions or individuals, all described the new foreign currency regime as ad-hoc, saying the cedi was bound to depreciate further.
A few weeks after the new policies, the Bank of Ghana relaxed some of the foreign currency policies when it realised that it did not stop the cedi from further depreciation. Last week, the BoG eventually completely reversed the entire list of foreign currency regulations.
Within the period of the new regulations, the local currency was adjudged as the worst currency in the world. Year-on-year inflation rate has risen up to 15 per cent and heralding widespread macroeconomic deterioration unseen in the last 30 years.
By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
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