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Opinions of Saturday, 11 October 2008

Columnist: Adu Asuama, Nana

Ghana's Gold Bullion/Bars: Count Down to December 8th

The 2008 General Elections is around the corner and “THE SILLY SEASON” has descended upon our beloved Ghana with a vengeance. The Silly Season, what is that? Well, the silly season comes from old English of the 1800's. Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary has two definitions for the phrase: 1 : a period (...) when the mass media often focus on trivial or frivolous matters for lack of major news stories 2 : a period marked by frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behavior.

Modern American political commentators and pundits have given the phrase a new twist. The phrase in their usage refers to the period before elections when political noise and propaganda drown important news item, or when politicians and their cohorts spin News fact around in such manner that the messages get lost.

The appearance of Mr. K.S Garbrah's article “Who Sold off Ghana's Entire Official Gold Reserves?” is a perfect example of what happens in the Silly Season. The author found some intriguing DATA about Ghana's ABOVE GROUND GOLD RESERVES at a reputable website (The world Gold Council) and brought it to the attention of all Ghanaians. Great work, much appreciated information, impeccable source.

At the World Gold Council's website, Mr Garbrah discovered that Ghana's name was absent from the list of countries reporting Gold Holdings - Bullions / Bars. Until the last 3 years Ghana has been on that list every year. But how does he conclude that the Gold has been sold? A logical question would have been WHY DID GHANA STOP REPORTING ITS GOLD HOLDINGS TO THE INTERNATIONAL BODIES IN THE LAST 3 YEARS?

Why spin the information found therein - SENSATIONALISM or PARTISANSHIP? How does knowing who sold the gold if true, help Ghanaians? Again this is the Silly Season; however, the issue of non reporting is serious. Somebody in authority should answer why WE STOPPED REPORTING. Why the change in policy?

The two articles that seek to explain away the existence of the Gold are woefully inadequate. The CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE's article was pathetic at best and despicable propaganda at worse. Whoever wrote that piece was clearly out of his / her depth. Although the GRAPHIC's article does a better job at dealing with the issue, it notes that “Ghana's gold holdings stood at 280,872 ounces (or 8.77 tonnes) as of September 18, 2008,” it is essentially HEARSAY. An anonymous article quoting an unnamed source from the Bank of Ghana.

The Bank of Ghana has both an official paper publication and a Website It can put this information out officially. IT NEEDS TO FIRST EXPLAIN THE POLICY OF NO REPORTING THEN TELL US ABOUT THE FATE OF THE GOLD. Currently living outside the country, I am not a stake holder of any political party in Ghana. I am therefore all for good governance and transparency but I also understand the Silly Season. The good folks at the bank cannot be partisan. They cannot do anything to influence the elections one way or other. WE DEMAND OUR ANSWERS ON DECEMBER 8th the day after the Presidential elections.

As we patiently count down to the end of the Silly Season, I would like to correct some popular misconceptions out there. Currently, countries don't back their currencies with Gold Bullions. World Economies including that of the United State's are all backed with the GDP, Trade and Transaction Volumes, Economic Stability etc. At the same time many countries still hold Gold Bullions - with the USA holding the largest reserves.

The United States, United Kingdom and the IMF have all sold off some of their Gold Bullions or have announced their intention to sell. One of the IMF's reasons for selling is the need to get liquidity – cash to support HIPC Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. These countries have to meet stringent requirement known as the Structural Adjustment Program – SAP to qualify for HIPC status. It is possible that they are asked to give up asserts like Gold Bullions before their debts can be forgiven? Who would forgive a debtor who has gold just sitting untouched in a vault? Ghana is one of the few countries that met all HIPC SAP requirements.

Hello! Why would the IMF tell Ghana to keep it's gold bullion why the IMF sells its gold to pay for our canceled debt. Beats me. ---------

Nana Adu