Ghana's central bank has separated certain categories of Outward Payments in its new directives concerning the Foreign Exchange (FX) operations in the country.
It has however directed banks Forex (Foreign-Exchange) Bureaux, as well as institutions and individuals to ensure strict compliance to documentations concerning these transactions.
In a 13-Point statement issued by Caroline Otoo, Secretary to the bank to clarify measures instituted early this month to regulate the FX market, the bank held that the transfer of foreign exchange to meet certain external payment obligations were still permissible under the new instruction.
According to the bank redemptions and coupon payments on Bonds held by non-residents; investment income, technology and management transfer entitlements, expatriate emoluments, and other incentive packages as well as overseas commitments under provisions in various legislation and legislative instruments; including other outward payments for imports of goods and services were still permissible.
The clarification, according to Bank of Ghana was necessitated by recent public outcry and public discussions that followed its directives issued on Feb. 4.
The bank on Wednesday held discussions with stakeholder organizations including the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Private Enterprises Federation(PEF), Association of Ghana Industries(AGI) and the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) among many others to discuss the fall-outs of the new directives.
"Banks are however required to ensure that such transfer requests are supported by the relevant underlying documentation," the release stressed.
Although the regulations permitted that all balances in Foreign Currency Accounts (FCA) and Foreign Exchange Accounts (FEA) should not be converted into Ghana Cedis, it said withdrawals from such balances over the counter, except for travel purposes will be paid in the local cedi currency at the existing inter-bank rate.
As contained in the early February directives, Bank of Ghana said it also permitted external transfers of up to 10,000 U.S. dollars per annum, without documentation from FEA and FCA while " balances held in FEA and FCA continue to remain available for all legitimate external transactions."
On imports also, the bank directs that importers be allowed to undertake imports through direct transfer from their FEA of up to 25,000 dollars per transaction without the initial documentation.
It explained that this format was adopted because the evidence of receipt and clearance of goods in Ghana, with the importers submit relevant Customs Entry Forms covering imports to their bankers not later than three months after the transfer has been effected would suffice.
"No importer shall transfer foreign exchange abroad if he/she has not fully accounted for an outstanding transfer and no bank shall transfer foreign exchange abroad on behalf of any importer if he/she has not fully accounted for the outstanding transfer of up to 25,000 dollars," the statement added.
The Bank of Ghana introduced the Feb. 4 measures after the local currency which had depreciated by 14 percent cumulatively against the U.S. dollar in 2013, fell by 7.8 percent against the dollar between January and February 2014 alone.