An internal memo from the African Development Bank (AfDB) has confirmed revelations by the vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, to the effect that Ghana was indeed sanctioned by the bank.
A day after he had made the claim that Ghana and countries like Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Djibouti had been suspended, the bank seems to have been put under some pressure to put out a denial on its website saying, ‘We wish to state that Ghana is current on all its obligations with the AfDB.”
The bank insisted that ‘Ghana is not on the list of countries under sanctions by the AfDB”, suggesting that ‘On 18th February, 2015, due to an administrative oversight, Ghana was erroneously included in the list of countries under sanctions by the AfDB and that the error was detected that same day and a corrected list was immediately issued in replacement.’
The AfDB claims that the administrative error was committed on February 18, but the memo conveying the suspension of Ghana was dated February 17, 2015, raising suspicion about the credibility of AfDB’s rejoinder.
The suspension meant that signature of new AfDB loan agreements, disbursement on all the bank’s ongoing projects and the granting of new loans had been suspended until the situation was resolved, as Dr Bawumia said during the public lecture at the Central University last Tuesday.
However, an internal memo dated February 17, 2015 from the AfDB suggests that Ghana was at least on the list of sanctioned countries for many weeks before the corrections were effected, as the bank claims.
It also confirmed the revelation by Dr Bawumia that Ghana was indeed sanctioned by the bank and that the statement by AfDB that the inclusion of Ghana on the list of sanctioned countries was an error could not have been true.
The memo referred to a list prepared on January 31, 2015 which listed Ghana as one of the countries affected by AfDB sanctions, with the memo indicating that the sanctions against Ghana took effect on January 2, 2015.
The emergence of the AfDB’s own internal memo of 17th February clearly contradicts the suggestion by the bank that the inclusion of Ghana on the list was an administrative error which appeared on its website and was corrected.
So far, neither the AfDB nor the Mahama-led NDC government has been able to provide any details on the so-called administrative oversight or error.
Also, efforts to find any correspondence dated 18th February which supposedly corrected the administrative error proved futile because neither government nor AfDB sources have been able to produce any such correspondence to confirm the claims contained in the statement.
In a related development, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is claiming that the document sourced from its website by Dr Bawumia was an error.
The admission by the GSS was contained in a formal response to Bawumia’s criticisms at a press conference organised yesterday.
Dr Bawumia queried government’s claim that in 2009 overall non-oil GDP growth was 2.2% whereas the agricultural sector was pegged at 7.2%; industry, 4.5% and services sector, 5.6%.
Dr Bawumia said one would have expected a higher growth in non-oil GDP growth based on the values recorded by the three sectors.
He said erroneous data jeopardises the impact that an IMF bailout would have in resolving Ghana’s sinking credibility and messy fiscal record.
In Dr Bawumia’s words at the Central University College’s Distinguished Speaker’s series, the IMF “anchor will not hold’ if data is faulty.
However, GSS explained that there ‘was an error during the transmission of the data onto its website’, saying that ‘the correct figure is 4.8% and not 2.2%’.
Ghana Owes Nigeria Gas $120m
According to a TV3 report, Ghana owes Nigeria about $120 million in gas supplied, leading to the stoppage of gas supply to the Volta River Authority (VRA), confirming Dr Bawumia’s claim on the matter during the lecture.
The renowned economist had said that the VRA owed Nigeria Gas $100 million, a reason for ‘the untold story’ of the erratic supply of gas.
‘Nigeria Gas is, therefore, dragging its feet with regard to the supply of gas while this amount is unpaid,’ Dr Bawumia stated during his lecture as Visiting Professor of Economic Governance at the Central University College.
According to VRA, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) owes it GH¢1.2 billion, without which it could not settle the debt to Nigeria Gas.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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