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Stephen Adei: BoG’s decision to build US$250 million head office ill-timed

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs have described the venture as misplaced priority due to the prevailing economic situation

Prof Stephen Adei, an economist has condemned the central bank for constructing an ultra-modern head office, estimated to cost US$250 million, at a time the economy is in turbulence.

He said although the intention behind the new office is positive, the timing is wrong.

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs have described the venture as misplaced priority due to the prevailing economic situation.

Not fit for purpose

However, the Bank of Ghana issued a statement on Wednesday (9 August) saying its current head office building “does not satisfy the full complement of excess strength required for a building to be considered safe for usage.”

“A structural integrity assessment conducted by the BoG revealed that the current BoG head office building, built by the Nkrumah Government in the early 1960s, is no longer fit for purpose and could not stand any major earth tremors.

“The outcome of the structural integrity work was that the main building does not satisfy the full complement of excess strength required for a building to be considered safe for usage. This means that in the case of a worst-case gravity and wind loading scenario, for example, unusually strong wind, the building may be significantly affected,” the statement added.

Wrong timing

However, speaking to Beatrice Adu on TownHall Talk on Asaase 99.5 Accra on Friday (11 August), Adei said: “I don’t think this is the time when we are in such a deep hole that you should be building new headquarters.”

“I agree with all the explanation that the Bank of Ghana gave that their building is not fit for purpose,” he added. “I agree but there are certain things that we cannot do at this time – in a year or two, Ghana fortunately, will not be in this forever.”

Listen to Prof Stephen Adei in the attached audio clip below:

 

The Bank of Ghana in justifying its decision also said that: “The building also does not have the required strength to withstand the expected imposed significant earthquake loads that would be expected to occur in the Accra area. Based on the above, and looking at the strategic objective of positioning Ghana as the financial hub of the sub-region, with prospects of a potential Headquarters for a future regional Central Bank, the board and management of the bank considered a new head office building as the most important priority project to support the operational efficiency of the bank, and also position the Bank of Ghana in a very good position to be the host of the regional Central Bank as we currently host the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) of the Sub region.”

 

Reporting by Fred Dzakpata in Accra

 

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