The Parliament of Ghana has passed the Bank of Ghana (BoG) Amendment Bill to strengthen the central bank’s functional autonomy.
A press release issued By the Ministry of Finance and signed by a Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson explained that the amendment will strengthen the BoGs governance system and ability to respond to crises in the banking sector.
Additionally, the Bill seeks to plug the loopholes identified in Act 612.
“These loopholes were identified in consequence of an examination of current international trends and what pertains in other jurisdictions,” it said.
The amendment will also separate the autonomy provisioned from other objectives of the bank to strengthen the autonomy of the BoG in the performance of its functions.
The statement pointed out that the Bill will also introduce a new qualification criterion for Board members.
“Under the new bill, a person is qualified for appointment as a member of the Board if that person has extensive knowledge and experience as regards monetary, banking, financial and economic matters or any discipline relevant to the functions of the Board,” it said.
“It is important to note that with the amendment of this Bill, the Minister of Finance’s influence in the appointing of members of the Monetary Policy Committee has been revoked and the Bank of Ghana takes full responsibility for that”, it added.
On the requirement of zero Bank of Ghana Financing of government’s budget, the statement disclosed that the figure was pegged at 5 percent but the government is still committed to achieving the zero financing despite the law.
Below is the full statement
PARLIAMENT PASSES BANK OF GHANA (AMENDMENT) BILL
Wednesday 3rd August, 2016. On 2nd August, 2016, the Parliament of Ghana passed the Bank of Ghana Amendment Bill. The objective of the amendment is to significantly strengthen the Central Bank’s functional autonomy, governance and ability to respond to banking sector crises.
- The Bill seeks to plug the loopholes identified in Act 612. These loopholes were identified in consequence of an examination of current international trends and what pertains in other jurisdiction. The amendment also seeks to separate the autonomy provisioned from other objectives of the bank to strengthen the autonomy of the Bank of Ghana in the performance of its functions.
- The Bill introduces a new qualification criterion for Board embers. Under the new bill, a person is qualified for appointment as a member of the Board if that person has extensive knowledge and experience as regards monetary, banking, financial and economic matters or any discipline relevant to the functions of the Board. It is important to note that with the amendment of this Bill, the Minister of Finance’s influence in the appointing of members of the Monetary Policy Committee has been revoked and the Bank of Ghana takes full responsibility for that.
- This amendment of the BOG Bill comes in the middle of the IMF program that requires zero BOG financing with a window of 2% – 3% of BOG financing for liquidity management. The Government of Ghana is committed to the IMF-supported Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Programme. Time and again, this commitment has been re-emphasized by H.E. the President as well as the Hon. Minister for Finance. In stating this point, we wish to emphasize that significant progress has been made in implementing the Programme and this is evident in two successful reviews of the IMF Programme. The third review mission was concluded in May, 2016 and we are awaiting the Fund to go to the Board for the approval of the third review on August 29.
- Even though Parliament has passed a BOG financing limit of 5 percent of previous year’s revenue in the Bank of Ghana Amendment Bill, the Government remains committed and will still continue to implement the ECF Programme as agreed with the Fund. In doing so, we will continue to adhere to the requirement of zero BOG financing under the IMF-ECF Programme—as a matter of fiscal prudence—as we have done since the beginning of the year. Currently, government has no incentive to borrow from the BOG (MPC rate is above the market rate for GOG instrument). Prior to this year, we observed a reduction in BOG financing of the budget from 10 percent, under the BOG Act, to 5 percent in 2015. Furthermore, it should be noted that under the Fund programme, Government is allowed to temporarily borrow up to 2% of previous year’s revenue within a 90- day windows in special circumstances.
- To help us manage liquidity pressures under the zero financing, we are improving domestic revenue mobilization with the implementation of tax measures as well as improving tax administration. We have switched successfully to the Ghana Stock Exchange to finance long-term Budget needs, compared to the relatively short-term BOG Treasury Bill market or auctions. Additionally, a number of initiatives to strengthen cash management are being implemented. A Cash Management Operational Framework which forecast revenue and public expenditure numbers two weeks ahead of time has been developed. The framework provides information on government cash flows on a weekly basis.
- The new Public Financial Management (PFM) Bill, currently being debated in Parliament, contains provisions for prudent economic management to codify for the first time, some of the measures being implemented under the Government’s own Home-Grown (and now IMF) Programme. For the first time, extensive provisions relating to budget and fiscal rules, including the budget deficit, financing and public debt, are also codified in the PFM Bill. END
HON. CASSIEL ATO FORSON, MP