Whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks has published a US cable saying that Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) will be more relaxed with the government and this may affect the independence of the Bank.
The cable created by the US Embassy in Accra October 19, 2009 and published by Wikileaks August 30, 2011 under the headline: Ghana’s New Central Bank Governor says his close relations with the government poses some discomfort to financial industry players.
“This closeness to government causes some financial industry players discomfort. They generally agree he is a smart economist, but they are still not certain if he can maintain the bank’s independence, especially at a time when there are many calls for Ghana to exert strong leadership to restore macroeconomic stability,” it says.
Mr Amissah-Arthur assumed office as the governor of the BoG for a four-year term on October 1, 2009 after taking over from Dr. Paul Acquah who completed his two four-year terms on September 30, 2009.
According to the cable, media reports suggested that residents of the Central Region, President Mills’ home region, hailed the appointment since he is the first BoG Governor from the region and his is one of the highest profile appointments from the region considered one of the swing regions that led the NDC to victory in 2008.
The cable notes that the governor joined the former President Rawlings’ Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) government as the Deputy Secretary of Finance from 1986 to 1993 and continued to work under Rawlings’ National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as Deputy Minister of Finance until 1997 which he then worked as an economic consultant for the USAID contractor Sigma One and the World Bank.
On his relationship with government officials, the cable states “Amissah-Arthur comes on board as a monetary policy handler with a rich understanding of fiscal issues, while his counterpart responsible for fiscal issues, Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor was a former central bank governor whom he worked with when Duffuor was a deputy governor. The new governor also worked closely with President Mills, when the President was the head of the Internal Revenue Service.”
“Although the new governor is seen as a political partisan, his extensive experience with working with the IFIs under Ghana’s Economic Recovery Program in the 1980s gives some assurance that the central bank will maintain its tradition of cooperation with the IFIs,” the cable cited US Ambassador to Ghana Donald Teitelbaum as stating.
By Ekow Quandzie