Gold-for-crude plan is bogus, Bawumia is grasping for straws – Johns Hopkins Professor

Economics Professor at the Johns Hopkins University, Steve Hanke has described the plan to buy crude oil with gold by the government of Ghana as bogus.

He says the Vice President, who made this announcement is grasping for straw regarding this move.

In a tweet, Prof Hanke said “VP of Ghana Mahamudu Bawumia unveiled a plan to buy oil with gold instead of the USD. Bawumia claims that his gold-for-oil plan will ‘reduce the persistent depreciation of our currency.’ Bawumia is grasping for straws. His plan is BOGUS.”

In respect of this arrangement, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison has said the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) would play a key role in the move.

The PMMC, he said, would be buying a lot of the gold from licensed gold exporters who he indicated, have significant amount of gold.

“The PMMC will be providing most of the gold to be used for crude oil swap,” he said during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference in Accra on Monday, November 28.

He further said that the major mining companies operating in Ghana were consulted on the move.

Dr Addison said that in the meeting where this idea came up, the major mining companies including Newmont and AngloGold were all present.

They all cooperated with this idea, Dr Addison added.

He said “the major mines were consulted, Newmont and the AngloGold were all part of the meeting that we had together with the Vice President when the decision was taken that they will, from 2023, sell at least 20 per cent of their production of gold to the central bank.

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“In fact, most of the mining companies who were at that meeting were very cooperative, it was not something which was forced on them, they were ready to contribute their quota to support Ghana during these difficult times.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that some analysts and commentators have misinterpreted Ghana’s stated policy of using gold reserves to pay for oil as an attempt by the country to move away from the US dollar for international transactions.

Speaking at the 2022 AGI Awards in Accra, Dr Bawumia noted that to the contrary, Ghana’s gold-for-oil programme will give Ghana the space to accumulate more international reserves as the country will save the $3 billion it spends on oil imports.

He further stated that the use of gold was specifically for oil imports in the face of declining foreign exchange reserves.

Unfortunately, some people have misinterpreted this as Ghana being against the use of the US dollar in international transactions,” he stated.

“Far from it. We want to accumulate more US dollar reserves in the future.”

Vice President Bawumia noted that a major source of Cedi depreciation has been the demand for forex to finance imports of oil products and to address this challenge, government is negotiating a new policy regime where sustainably mined gold will be used to buy oil products.

we implement the gold-for-oil policy as it is envisioned, it will fundamentally change our balance of payments and significantly reduce the persistent depreciation of our currency with its associated increases in fuel, electricity, water, transport and food prices.”

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This, he noted, is because the exchange rate will no longer directly enter the formula for the determination of fuel or utility prices since all the domestic sellers of fuel will no longer need foreign exchange to import oil products

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana