August 23, 2014

A Member of Parliament for Obuasi is accusing the Bank of Ghana of “fraudulently” massaging interbank exchange figures.

Kweku Kwarteng said the Bank of Ghana does not set administrative rates for the commercial banks. What it does is to factually report the rates at those banks.

He found it hard to believe that the Bank of Ghana, the regulators of banking activities in Ghana, would have an average interbank exchange rate set at 3.03 cedis to a dollar while the commercial banks would have theirs pegged at 3.8 cedis to a dollar.

The disconnect would only be as a result of fraud he insisted on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme, Saturday.

He was commenting on the intervention by two-time NPP Vice Presidential candidate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia who questioned the official figures churned out by the Bank of Ghana and the Statistical Service.

The Bank of Ghana set the average exchange rate at 3.03 cedis to a dollar at the end of August 13, 2014.

The Statistical Service on its part also indicated that inflation had gone up by just 1.5 per cent from (13.8% to15.3%).

Dr Bawumia said the two figures do not reflect the reality on the market.

“Where in Ghana today can you buy a dollar at close to GHC3.03? The large spread between the Bank of Ghana exchange rate and the interbank exchange rate indicates that the Bank of Ghana rate is being administratively set and not market driven,” he said of the exchange rate.

On the inflation rate Dr Bawumia said something is just not right.

“The rate of increase of prices in 2014 by our collective experience is clearly the highest in recent times, underpinned by the 40% depreciation of the exchange so far this year, increases in petroleum, utility and transportation prices, etc. The prices of most goods and services have virtually doubled and continue to increase daily.

This notwithstanding, the Ghana Statistical service data on inflation suggests that price increases in 2014 are slower than they were last year (2013). Between January and July 2014 inflation increased by only 1.5% (13.8% to15.3%) after all the increases in petroleum, utilities and other prices we have witnessed,” he argued.

Kweku Kwarteng said Dr Bawumia’s intervention was appropriate. He would not say the motive or the rationale for which the Bank of Ghana would give wrong figures except to emphasise that the figures are misleading.

A Deputy Communications Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu said Dr Bawumia is being mischievous with his analysis.

He said the penchant with which Dr Bawumia has been criticizing the same institution he worked in or for, is unacceptable and must be called to order.

He reiterated that the methodology and the personnel who calculated the exchange rates under Bawumia as Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana are the same calculating the exchange under a new governor.