PAC demands bauxite export details from BoG

Mr. Avedzi

Mr. Avedzi

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament yesterday asked officials of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to furnish it with full details of Ghana’s bauxite export in 2015.

The order was issued because the Auditor–General’s report for 2015 on BOG’s foreign exchange receipts and payment did not capture export details of bauxite.

The officials of BoG led by John Asiamah, Second Deputy Governor, met members of the committee yesterday, to respond to issues arising out of the Auditor-General’s report on the statement of foreign exchange receipts and payment of the bank for 2015.

The export commodities captured under the report, which became the focal point for discussion, included gold, cocoa, and manganese, but, conspicuously missing in the report was bauxite.

Consequently, Afenyo Markins, a member of the PAC, said he was privy to information that about 40,000 tonnes of bauxite was exported that year.

This prompted the committee to demand further and better particulars about records on bauxite export for 2015.

Initially, the officials of BoG had no idea as to what might have transpired for such an omission, however, after communicating with a source, an official of the BoG announced to the committee that information revealed that Ghana exported bauxite worth US$41.05 million in 2015.

The official contended that bauxite export was probably not captured in the report because the company mining the concession was granted the privilege by Parliament to retain all the foreign exchange on export of the bauxite abroad.

The explanation did not go down well with the committee and the chairman, James Avedzi, asked the BoG to make a full report on bauxite export available to the committee.

Members of the committee were also not enthused that the BoG report seemed to project foreign exchange only for a fraction of the projected amount to be realised as ‘actual.’

The BoG officials explained that they could not be faulted for such variations since the projections were based on data collected from the exporters.

They also explained that such projections were affected by the volatility of prices of commodities on the global market, such that when prices plummeted downwards, the exporters were reluctant to export, which ultimately affect the projections.

The officials said due to prudent measures by the BoG, such variations had improved steadily from 2013.

They said in 2014 from a deficit of US$700 million, the situation improved to US$320 million in 2015, with the 2016 fiscal year bringing a surplus to mark a change in the trend.

The officials attributed the improvement to the stability in the country’s terms of trade, which saw an increase in foreign exchange receipt from exports.

They contended that the BoG would support the policy of unearthing more non-traditional exports, which were the basis for improvement in the foreign exchange receipt from exports.

By Lawrence Markwei

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