Chairman of the Finance Committee and Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng has said the current international reserves of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) stands at $7.68 billion at the close of June 2022.
Mr Kwarteng made the clarification when he presented a report to the plenary on a $750 million loan agreement on Wednesday, stating that “the country’s reserves had dwindled from $9 billion to $3 billion.”
Mr Kwarteng described the figure contained in the committee’s report as “an error that was an unfortunate oversight” which he presented to the House for adoption on Wednesday.
“In terms of net international reserves, the country closed December 2021 with $6.08 billion. This position declined to $3.58 billion at the close of June 2022.
“Mr Speaker, the error is regretted and I request the Clerk at Table to ensure that all the records are accordingly corrected,” he told the House and apologised for the blunder.
In a reaction, the Minority raised objections to the decision of Mr Kwarteng to correct the earlier figures contained in the Finance Committee’s report.
The Minority questioned the integrity of the entire house as it had approved the $750 million loan based on the figures of the central bank’s reserves and the urgent need to support the 2022 budget.
The Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, said he was not privy to the procedure where a statement could amend a committee’s report after the committee’s report had been adopted and subsequently approved.
He said the $3 billion declined reserves that the Finance Committee’s report captured did not just surface, as it was contained in a statement from the Minister of Finance during a meeting with the Committee.
“Mr Speaker, I was in that meeting and it was the Minister of Finance who made that statement and our Clerks of Parliament have the responsibility to capture exactly what the minister said and the report was signed by the Chairman of the committee.
“I do not think it is the chairman who has to amend this figure; if for any reason the information we have on record is different from what the central bank has it is for the BoG to issue a statement to correct same if it is not same,” he said.
Consequently, the House agreed to stand the correction down until Monday 25th July 2022 when the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, appears before Parliament to present the Mid-Year Budget Statement and also confirm the data and figures Mr Kwarteng sought to correct.
Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah & Patience Anaadem, ISD