The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC)-led demonstration has provoked a row between the Minority MPs and the Governor of the central bank, Dr. Ernest Addison.
The NDC MPs, on Tuesday, staged a protest in Accra, demanding the resignation of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) Governor and his deputies for allegedly mismanaging the bank.
The Minority Leader, Dr. Ato Forson, also declined to present his petition to officials of the BoG because he wanted the governor to receive it himself, despite explanation by the bank’s chief of security, Wing Commander Kwame Asare Boateng that the governor and deputy governors were in meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Dr. Addison, however, has rejected the opposition’s request to resign, claiming that the Minority MPs should have used a more appropriate approach for advancing their issues as pertained in “civilised societies” rather than protesting in the streets as “hooligans.”
According to an international business website known as the Central Banking, the BoG governor said Tuesday’s demonstration was “completely unnecessary” and neither he nor his deputies intend to step down.
“The Minority in Parliament have many channels to channel their grievances in civilised societies, not through demonstrations in the streets as hooligans,” Dr. Addison is quoted as saying.
He also reportedly denied the opposition’s assertions that the central bank had “unilaterally” employed monetary financing, as well as its demand that the construction of the new headquarters be halted.
The government restructured its domestic debts earlier this year, which was a major contributor in the central bank’s 2022 loss of GH¢60.8 billion ($5.24 billion).
Dr. Ato Forson and his group have opposed the construction of the new central bank headquarters, which is set to open in September of next year. The Minority Leader called for Addison’s resignation in August, following the release of the central bank’s 2022 financial statements.
He accused the central bank of printing money to fund the government. At the protest, Ato Forson said the central bank’s leaders “have mismanaged the affairs of the central bank” and “unilaterally printed up to GH¢80 billion in two years.”
Dr. Addison, on the other hand, indicated that the central bank only provided monetary financing between 2020 and 2022 to address specific emergencies, emphasising that this activity is permitted under central bank law.
According to him, the impairment of the bank’s debt holdings, which resulted in the losses, was a requirement for the IMF programme.
Concerning the building, the governor indicated that the Board of Governors decided to begin construction on the new headquarters in 2019 “when the bank was profitable and appropriated some of its profits for the new headquarters.”
“It was not a decision taken during a crisis,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Mahama Ayariga, the NDC MP for Bawku Central, has termed comments by the BoG Governor as “loose talk” and offensive.
According to him, he has been taken aback by Dr. Addison’s comments and description, asserting that the Minority members have been civil in their demand for his resignation.