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TUC research director replies BoG on Cowlane black market illegal forex trading

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TUC research director replies BoG on Cowlane black market illegal forex trading

Director of Research at the Trades Union Congress, Dr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo

The Bank of Ghana has denied allegations that it was collaborating with illegal foreign exchange traders at the black market in Cowlane in Accra for them to transfer funds abroad.

The central bank in a statement issued Monday (October 31, 2022) said the allegation was unfortunate, false and must be dismissed by all.

According to the BoG, its attention was drawn to the comment made by the Director of Research at the Trades Union Congress, Dr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo.

The BoG has therefore advised the public to completely disregard the comments and be assured that the BoG was doing all within its power to reduce the rising general level of prices.

Dr Otoo has reacted to the BoG’s statement.

Attached below is a copy of Dr Otoo’s statement


1. I have had to reluctantly respond to the statement from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) on the comment I made on Joy News TV/Joy FM NewsFile last Saturday, 29th October 2022.

As a worker of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), I have, in the last few months been agonizing over the declining real incomes of Ghanaian workers because of the steep depreciation of the cedi and the rising cost of living it has occasioned. Today, I must deal with a sideshow; an open secret the BoG claims it has no idea of.

2. On Joy Newsfile, I spoke passionately about the need to do everything to arrest the depreciation of the Ghana cedi. In the manner of speaking and in the context of the frustration some of us face about the general economic situation, some of the words we use may not reflect our true intentions.

I would like to assure the Bank of Ghana and the Ghanaian people that in speaking about the Ghanaian economy my intentions are always pure and I do not intend to assault state institutions or officials.

3. I spoke about the need to review the entire concept of Forex Bureaus after more than three decades of their introduction. The BoG did not hear this. We need a review to assure the country that the Forex Bureaus are serving the purpose for which they were introduced.

4. On the issue of “BoG and Cowlane” what I said was that “there is growing suspicion…”. It is true that I used the word “evidence” but I quickly substituted that with the phrase “growing suspicion”. I never said BoG does illegal transfer of funds offshore. The BoG must listen to the entire conversation rather than pick pieces of it. If it does, it will appreciate the spirit with which I spoke on the program.

5. In a joint meeting between the leadership of the TUC and Business Associations in Ghana on October 25, 2022, this allegation of “active collaboration” was made. I have also personally heard this allegation from various quarters. I do not necessarily believe them. But I believe they have become part of the general speculative narrative that is decimating the cedi.

6. If the Bank of Ghana cares to know, in unofficial circles, Cowlane as a physical location is referred to as “Bank of Ghana Annex”. Some call it the “alternative central bank”. There are reasons for these designations, some of which reasons feed into the unrelenting attacks on the cedi.

The BoG has the ability to find out more. The BoG should remember that “reality does not go away when it is ignored”. As the BoG focuses on its mandate of “price stability” it should also strive to improve banking supervision and ensure that Ghana does not again have to cough up GHS20 billion plus to save depositors funds!

7. Finally, in writing this response, I have received considerable counsel and I have restrained myself because of the times in which Ghana finds itself.

I have held back because we need cool heads to calm the situation. I am a citizen holding cedis issued by the BoG and I know what’s happening to the cedi I hold.

I work with workers and I’m fully aware of how their cedi denominated salaries have been debased. This is not the time for viciousness in responding to people who are merely conveying a message.