BoG didn’t breach procurement laws in $250m HQ project – Addison

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, has emphatically stated that the institution did not breach any procurement laws in its pursuit of building a new headquarters for the Central Bank.

The response from the BoG comes in the wake of concerns raised by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, regarding the escalating cost of the new headquarters situated in Ridge, Accra.

According to him, the cost of the office rose “from an initial US$81.8 million to US$121 million & currently threatening to exceed US$250 million”.

He also alleged that a construction firm, selected through a single-source Public Procurement Authority (PPA) process for the project, is not even a registered entity within the country.

In response, Dr. Addison provided clarification on the timeline and rationale behind the decision to initiate the construction of the new head office. He revealed that the decision to proceed with the construction was made in 2019, driven by the Bank’s profits at that time.

While acknowledging the concerns voiced by the MP, Dr. Addison asserted that all actions taken were within the bounds of the law and aligned with due procedures.

“The Bank of Ghana as far back as the 1990s began the search for suitable and secured land for a new Head office. In 2012, the Bank was allocated an unnumbered 5.19-acre land at Accra Central by the Lands Commission which also had issues. The Bank did not have access to the land since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration refused to give the Bank vacant possession on the grounds that they had never agreed to give up ownership of the land. The Bank continued to search for suitable land for its Head Office throughout the period from 2013 to 2016. More recently in 2018, the Bank approached the SIC to acquire its vacant land at Ridge near the Ridge Hospital.

“The Government issued an Executive Instrument to allow the Bank of Ghana to acquire that Land and SIC was duly compensated. The Bank then began to plan the building of its new Head Office, taking into consideration the need to ensure the building meets all the requirements of a modern central bank of international standards (similar to central bank head office buildings in Abuja and Dakar), and includes provision for data centres, currency processes, vaults, and other sensitive installation. It is not just a simple ordinary building. Let me re-emphasize that the Bank followed all the necessary public procurement processes in this endeavour.

“No procurement laws were broken. I have requested that a more detailed response to the issues raised in the public discourse on the Bank’s new Head Office building be published on our website immediately after this press engagement today.

“The decision to commence construction was taken in 2019 when the Bank generated profits. Appropriations for the Head Office were made each year from profits in 2019, 2020, and 2021. The project has, therefore, been going on for over 3 years. The DDEP only took place in January 2023. If we were to be taking the decision today, building a legacy Head Office would not have been a priority.

“However, this is a project that has been running for 3 years and about 50 percent complete. The Bank is fully aware of its responsibilities to ensure that the costs do not escalate beyond reasonable levels and that many of the original design features to including data centre, currency processing centre, ICT equipment, and specialized security features have been deferred and only grey boxes provided for future use to manage costs.”

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