BoG: GH¢55bn equity deficit threatens policy solvency

Policy solvency is a fundamental aspect of central bank management, representing the ability of a central bank to maintain and restore its financial stability while fulfilling its policy mandates. The recent financial results of the Bank of Ghana have brought to light significant mismanagement issues, including a massive operating loss of GH¢60.81billion in 2022. In this article, we will explore the theory of policy solvency, draw comparisons with other central banks to highlight best practices, and identify areas of improvement for the Bank of Ghana.

Understanding policy solvency

Policy solvency is a fundamental concept that lies at the core of a central bank’s operations and responsibilities. It refers to the ability of a central bank to effectively implement its monetary policies while maintaining financial stability and credibility. A solvent central bank possesses the capacity to manage its balance sheet efficiently, meet its financial obligations, and instil confidence in the financial markets and the broader economy.

Central banks are key institutions entrusted with the task of formulating and implementing monetary policies that influence the money supply, interest rates, and overall economic activity. They serve as the backbone of a country’s financial system, playing a pivotal role in regulating banks and financial institutions, overseeing payment systems, and safeguarding the stability of the nation’s currency.

Policy solvency is vital as it ensures that a central bank can fulfil its mandate of promoting price stability, fostering economic growth, and maintaining financial integrity. By effectively managing its balance sheet, a solvent central bank can navigate economic fluctuations, manage risk exposure, and address potential financial crises.

A central bank’s balance sheet comprises assets and liabilities, with assets including foreign reserves, government securities, loans and gold reserves. On the liabilities side, it includes currency in circulation, deposits from banks, and government deposits. Policy solvency depends on the bank’s ability to maintain a robust and sustainable balance sheet, ensuring that assets are of high quality and can withstand adverse economic conditions.

A solvent central bank is better equipped to respond to various economic challenges, such as inflationary pressures, exchange rate fluctuations, and financial market volatility. It can adjust its monetary policy tools – such as open market operations, reserve requirements, and interest rates – to achieve its policy objectives effectively.

The credibility of a central bank is closely linked to its policy solvency. A financially sound institution that manages its affairs prudently instils confidence in market participants, investors, and the public. Credibility fosters predictability, which is essential for economic agents to make informed decisions and plan for the future. A credible central bank enjoys greater policy effectiveness, as its announcements and actions are trusted and taken seriously.

During times of economic crisis or uncertainty, policy solvency becomes even more crucial. A solvent central bank can act as a stabilising force, providing liquidity and support to the financial system, ensuring the smooth functioning of payment systems, and mitigating systemic risks.

Impact analysis

The Bank of Ghana, as indicated in its financial statement, possesses total assets amounting to GH¢118.68billion for the bank and GH¢125.97billion for the group. These assets include cash and balances with correspondent banks, gold reserves, balances with IMF, securities, loans and advances, and other investments, among others. The bank’s financial standing reflects its capacity to manage its balance sheet efficiently and meet financial obligations, essential traits for maintaining policy solvency.

In contrast, the bank’s total liabilities amount to GH¢173.80billion for the bank and GH¢179.90billion for the group. These liabilities consist of deposits, derivative financial liability, bridge facilities, liabilities under money market, allocations of special drawing rights, liabilities to IMF, lease liabilities, and other financial obligations. Maintaining a balanced and sustainable liability structure is critical for ensuring policy solvency and safeguarding financial stability.

The Bank of Ghana’s shareholders’ funds indicate an equity attributable to equity holders of the bank at negative GH¢55.12billion, whereas non-controlling interests contribute GH¢591.43million. This demonstrates that the bank’s equity position requires careful management and improvement to enhance policy solvency and restore financial stability.

Perception-wise, the Bank of Ghana’s financial position, as evident from its Consolidated and Separate Statement of Financial Position, may influence how other central banks view its stability and credibility. A central bank’s financial health is a crucial factor when establishing relationships, engaging in currency swaps, or collaborating on monetary policy initiatives. A weakened financial position might lead to concerns about counterparty risk, potentially affecting the willingness of other central banks to engage in transactions or partnerships.

Practically, the Bank of Ghana’s financial position can impact the terms and conditions of transactions with other central banks. The ability to negotiate favourable terms, such as interest rates in currency swaps or the terms of collaborative agreements, may be affected by the Bank of Ghana’s perceived financial stability. Central banks often engage in transactions to manage liquidity, stabilize currency values, or address economic challenges. A central bank with a strong financial position is better positioned to influence and manage such transactions effectively.

Furthermore, a weaker financial position could limit the Bank of Ghana’s capacity to provide financial assistance or participate in initiatives led by other central banks, potentially impacting its influence within regional or international financial networks. The financial strength of a central bank contributes to its overall influence and ability to contribute meaningfully to discussions and decisions on global monetary matters.


Policy solvency remains a pivotal aspect of effective central bank management. By analysing the financial positions of central banks like the Bank of Ghana, alongside other central banks in similar economies, policy-makers can gain valuable insights into best practices and identify areas of improvement. As central banks continue to navigate economic fluctuations and global challenges, maintaining strong policy solvency is essential to fulfil their mandate of promoting price stability, fostering economic growth, and safeguarding financial integrity for the benefit of their respective nations and economies.



0.0Overall Score
Review Overview

Policy solvency is a fundamental aspect of central bank management, representing the ability of a central bank to maintain and restore its financial stability while fulfilling its policy mandates.