The Bank of Ghana (BoG) is to provide data on bauxite exports for 2015 to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament today as it was not captured in the audited accounts of the Central Bank.
When officials of BoG, led by Second Deputy Governor Dr Johnson Asiamah, appeared before PAC yesterday, it was pointed out that there is no information on proceeds from bauxite exports for 2015 in the audited accounts.
Member of Parliament for Efutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, who raised the matter, stated that he has credible information that about 40,000 metric tonnes of bauxite, worth $41million, was exported in 2015.
In the audited accounts, the Central Bank accounted for foreign exchange receipts and payments of cocoa, gold, manganese and oil revenue but that of bauxite produced by the Ghana Bauxite Company was missing.
Afenyo-Markin stated that the Minerals Commission has submitted reports to Parliament on Bauxite exports and therefore did not understand why the proceeds were not captured in the audited accounts of BoG.
“Bauxite is a major export component of our economy and if for the whole year it was not captured at all, and we want to believe that this is the full report of our foreign exchange receipts, then, with respect, we need answers.
“The bauxite, which was exported was not captured at all in the report, we have only manganese. I know as a fact by way of disclosure – I am a contractor there, and I know of volumes of tonnage of bauxite that were exported within the period as a matter fact.
Responding to the issue, Dr. Asiamah pleaded with PAC to give them some time to cross check the issue and report back to them today.
“Sometimes, it is possible that they produce but then as to the exportation numbers, we will have to verify. We will love to come back and Mr. Chairman, if you can give us some laxity of time, we can come back,” he said.
He assured the Committee that issues of data is not that simple, arguing that “these are what we send to the IMF and if you’ve heard about misreporting of data and the consequences, it is really serious and so we don’t take that lightly at all. I want to believe that there is a reason for this so please let me cross check it and I will get back to you.”
He went ahead to inform the Committee that, perhaps, the Ghana Bauxite Committee has 100% retention of their foreign receipts but it was disputed by Afenyo-Markin.
Chairman of the PAC, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, after listening to the plea of the Second Deputy Governor directed him to furnish the Committee with all relevant information about bauxite that were exported in 2015.
Addressing the committee, officials of the bank raised concerns about the need for government to be circumspect about bond disbursements.
According to an official from the bank, the disbursement of funds from bonds have a huge impact on Bank of Ghana’s reserves.
Ghana has raised $2.25billion from a sale of long-dated domestic bonds, boosting its central bank reserves by one-third.
The PAC had met to consider the Report of the Auditor-General on the Statement of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payment of the Bank of Ghana for the half year ended June 30, 2015 and December 31, 2015.