Deputy Energy Minister, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, says there is nothing wrong with the Bank of Ghana hiring the services of a ‘middleman’ to help broker deals in the Gold for Oil policy.
He was reacting to recent reports that suggested that the government had entered into shady and opaque deals with middlemen to facilitate the procurement of FX for the Gold for Oil policy.
Responding to the allegations, Egyapa Mercer stated that indeed he is aware of the existence of ‘middlemen’ or brokers in the ongoing programme but is adamant that there is nothing shady going on.
“There’s no middleman necessarily in the negative sense people put it. But you see same way that the private sector participates in petroleum importation and sale how is it that that is okay? Private sector participation as collaborators of government is universally accepted.
“So, how is it that if a broker is engaged to provide FX support so that Bank of Ghana can of course then trade the gold through the broker that becomes an issue?” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express Business Edition.
He noted that it was important to hire the brokers due to the fact that under prevailing circumstances, the government of Ghana is unable to produce the needed foreign exchange to facilitate the purchase of petroleum products.
“All the FX that Bank of Ghana gets into Ghana is from our export activities. Of course our commercial banks, well I don’t know where they buy the dollar from but they finance export mainly, and obviously if we get some loan disbursement or some grant disbursement which is in dollar, that’s the Bank of Ghana’s sources.
“So they’re doing the gold purchase to finance oil importation – two streams, direct barter which is an exchange between the supplier and the Bank of Ghana through its gold account which is opened I believe in the UAE.
“And for those that require dollar because they don’t have any commodity wing to deal with gold, then they monetize the dollar through the broker to pay for that commodity. I mean really, it is so simple and basic,” he explained.
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