Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, has defended the airlifting of 3 million dollars to the Black Stars in Brazil during the World Cup.
The money was used to pay the appearance fees of the Black Stars players after they threatened to boycott Ghana’s final group game against Portugal.
The players were reportedly paid 100 thousand dollars each in cash.
Government, as well as the Bank of Ghana has come under fire for allowing that amount of money to be flown out of the country, as it far exceeds the limit stated in the foreign exchange act and also led to a loss in revenue.
The Bank of Ghana had earlier clarified that the 3 million dollars that was air lifted was not in breach of its foreign exchange laws.
According to the Governor of the bank of Ghana, Dr Henry Kofi Wampah ‘‘if you look at the foreign exchange act, the Bank of Ghana has the power to give exemptions in situations that demand it. We have given such exemptions before even to institutions. I don’t want to mention institutions. We have given before’.
There have also been arguments from some quarters that a transfer could have been made to an affiliated bank for onward withdrawal in Brazil.
But Dr Wampah says they would not have been allowed to make such a huge withdrawal.
”Can be transferred but remember what they said. They said the players refused that they didn’t want the transfers. They may not allow them to withdraw that much cash, you see the regulations we have here are even more stringent elsewhere. They wouldn’t allow them to withdraw that much cash over the counter so that is the issue”
It’s unclear exactly how much revenue was lost but speaking to Citi Breakfast Show host Bernard Avle, Seth Terkper said government was forced to airlift the money because it was an emergency.
”So if the blackstars are going to play and an appearance fee has been determined for just qualifying , certain fees are based on performance then I think what is due has to be paid. A method of payment to my understanding was agreed, through electronic transfers, which is what we would have approved, through the sponsoring banks, for these monies to be transferred. But in the heat of the players not wanting to play and the whole nation…remember this is not just a Ghanaian phenomenon, Cameroon , Nigeria I think suffered similar things, sometimes we may not have heard about other countries but some of the Latin American countries went through the same thing,.. so I think we were responding to an emergency situation”
He also admitted Ghana lost tax revenue because of the way the money was airlifted to Brazil. “We did, once we transfer it, countries have different rules, some countries will not tax it but some countries have tax rules that say income brought into the country is taxable”.
By: Vivian Kai Mensah/citifmonline.com/Ghana