There are clear indications that current Acting Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Henry Kofi Akpenamawu Wampah, could for the second time in four years be by-passed in the selection of a substantive head of Ghana’s Central Bank.
Should Wampah be dropped, it would neither be due to non-qualification, inefficiency nor anything he may have done wrong, but simply because he has no strong lobbyists like his other competitor.
Credible information Economic Tribune has been working on since October 2012 indicates that immediately after the demise of President John Evans Atta Mills, the Northern Caucus in the ruling National Democratic Congress swung into top gear, lobbying to see their compatriot, Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, as the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
“The lobbying got so intense that non-northerners, who were seen as friends of the north with close ties to President John Dramani Mahama, were even approached to help in the lobbying process for the brilliant and relatively young top banker,” a source at Castle, who pleaded anonymity, told Economic Tribune.
Although the attempt to name a substantive governor was to have been done late last year, the decision was shelved upon advice that every appointment was withheld till after the elections.
After elections however, Mr. Andani’s name was dropped as one of the possible candidates for the Finance Minister position, with many believing that his close association with the president would give him some advantage over Mr. Seth Tekper, the hard working deputy minister.
However, when the list of the first batch of ministerial nominees came out some few weeks ago, the Stanbic boss’s name was conspicuously missing, with Tekper firmly named as Minister of Finance and Economic Planning-designate.
This development has set tongues wagging in various places where the belief is that whereas a non-economist could succeed as finance minister such as was the case with Yaw Osafo Marfo, this is impossible at the Central Bank, where the country’s monetary policy formulation, implementation and management are some of the key responsibilities.
Many stakeholders are apprehensive that having been “denied” the finance minister position, Mr. Andani could be compensated with the BoG chair. There are further speculations that, the lobbyists may have put out his name as a possible candidate for the exchequer job knowing he was not being considered for it, in order to create a morally difficult situation for the president.
Some believe that the affable banker is over-qualified for a ministerial position, adding that, at Stanbic, he is already in a very prestigious job, and wonder why he needs a government appointment.
Others think the Stanbic MD’s sterling capabilities would better be utilized at the National Investment Bank (NIB), one of the state banks which has not been doing particularly well, to inject some dynamism there.
“He must leave the Central Bank job for specialist monetary policy experts to deal with since the job there is far different from just banking and finance,” a source told this paper.
When reached for comments, the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Analysis, a policy think-tank, Dr Joe Abbey advised the president to maintain Dr Wampah as the Governor regarding the fact that he has been working at the Central Bank over the past 20 years.
“He is very solid, competent and highly qualified for the job and I believe he will do a good job when given the opportunity,” Dr Abbey stated.
Speculations about Mr. Andani’s quest to occupy the most prestigious banking seat in Ghana are not new as this came up during the Mills administration in 2009. At that time, Dr Wampah was highly tipped to take over from Dr Paul Acquah but a twist of events saw the current Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur being sent to BoG where he chalked remarkable success.
Source: Felix Dela Klutse/Economic Tribune/Ghana
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