A former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Emmanuel Asiedu Mantey has put up a stern defense of the Central Bank’s decision to spend a staggering GHC2million to purchase gold watches for its retiring staff.
According to him, public outcry that the money being used to purchase the watches is tax payer's money is a pure “misconception.”
“That’s not true,” Mr. Mantey said Thursday on Morning Starr with host Robert Nii Arday Clegg on Starr 103.5FM explaining that the Central Bank draws its own balance sheet and budget at the beginning of every year.
“So, it is its internally generated revenue that is being used to do this, not tax payers’ money. That misconception also needs to be cleared,” he added.
This, he asserted renders public outrage that the BoG is dissipating tax payers’ cash on watches for its retiring staff unfounded as the money to be used in procuring them is billed into the budget of the Central Bank yearly.
He added that the Central Bank generates its own revenue by rendering services despite it being a public entity.
The Central Bank on July 22, 2016, sent a request to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to sole source the procurement of gold watches from a Swiss watch company.
The request letter indicated that "BoG intends to use part of its 2016 budgetary allocation to fund the procurement of 25 units of 18 carat ladies gold watches and 48 units of gents gold watches," all Tissot Gold Watches from the local dealer.
According to the Central Bank, the reason behind the procurement of the 72 pieces of watches, is to serve "as an award to deserving members of staff who had served with the Bank for thirty years or more and are due to retire compulsorily from the service of the Bank in the years 2016 and 2017."
The news of the decision by the Central Bank to procure these watches and present them to some 72 of its retiring staff Wednesday infuriated the general public, accusing the BOG of being heartless.
The former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Amalgamated Bank Limited, (now Bank of Africa) Mr. Menson Torkornoo has slammed the decision stating that it was uncalled for.
“I don’t know what is wrong with us…there is no private company that would want to do something like this...it is very wasteful if that is their policy,” Mr. Torkonoo said on Morning Starr Thursday being hosted Robert Nii Arday Clegg on Starr 103.5FM.
Mr. Mantey who was once a recipient of the gold watch package upon retiring from the Central Bank disagreed with the position of the Mr. Torkorno stating that the premise on which the public is castigating the decision is problematic.
“It is a practice that has been ongoing,” said Mr. Mantey on Morning Starr adding that criticizing the move without a broader contest is awkward.
“This whole thing needs to be looked at in a broader contest. We are looking at an amount, a figure and we are saying—this amount is too big. But, it is like reading a balance sheet and you looking at one side of the balance sheet. You are looking at the liabilities; you are not looking at the assets,” he stated.
He continued that “If you are able to quantify that then the amount of money that people are quoting makes it look like Bank of Ghana is being wasteful, that conclusion will not be drawn. It is always good to make a proper comparison—or analysis if I may put it that way.
"Look at the amount. Yes, but look at the other side of the equation or the balance sheet. What is it suppose to do? Is that objective being achieved? Then you will be drawing realistic conclusions.”
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