Business News of Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Pressure is mounting on the newly sworn in members of the board of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to push interest rates down.
The development follows demands from the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for them to reduce the current high-interest rates in the country.
Ghana has one of the highest interest rates in the world, with the average base rate at 26.3 percent, while its policy rate, the rate at which the central bank lends to banks is at 21 percent.
Ghana together with Argentina (24.75%), Mozambique (23.25%), Gambia (23.00%), Malawi (22.00%) and Haiti (20.00%) constitute the six countries with policy rates above 20 percent.
There has been growing agitation among depositors over the past months over the high rates, as other rates – treasury bills and policy rates keep declining.
Speaking to new board members of the central bank after he swore them in this afternoon, the Vice President Dr Bawumia said the recent decline in policy rate must be transmitted in the lending rates of banks.
‘Your mandate is to see how the financial sector can play its responsible role crowding in the private sector to get access to credit affordably which means we have to think seriously about bringing interest rates down. We know that the Bank of Ghana has been bringing the policy rate down and as we stabilize the macro economy, bring about fiscal consolidation; better anchored inflationary expectations then you will see stability in the currency. And so while we achieve that macroeconomic stability, we expect the decline in policy rate is also transmitted to lending rates in the country among the banks’.
The 13 member board has the Governor of the Bank of Ghana Dr Ernest Addison as its Chairman.
The Governor’s two deputies Dr Maxwell Opoku Afari and Dr Johnson P Asiama are also members of the board.
Other members of the board are Mr Charles Adu – Boahen, a Deputy Minister of Finance and Dr Eugenia Amporfu.
The rest are Mr Keli Gadzekpo, Dr Kwame Owusu – Nyantekyi, Dr Samuel Nii Noi Ashong, Mr Jude Bucknor, Mr Joseph B Alhassan, Mr Andrew Boye- Doe, Dr Maria Hagan and Mrs Comfort Ocran.