Ridge location of new BoG Headquarters safe from earthquakes unlike current location - Geological Survey boss

Headlines Ridge location of new BoG Headquarters safe from earthquakes unlike current location - Geological Survey boss
AUG 12, 2023 LISTEN

Acting Director General of the Geological Survey Authority (GSSA) Issac Mwinbelle, has said the Ridge location of the new head office of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) is safe from earthquakes and tremors than the current location.

He explained that the current location which is at the High Street near James Town in Accra, is prone to tremors and earthquakes therefore it was prudent for the Bank to have acted swiftly to forestal any disaster.

Speaking to the state broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in an interview on their GBC Radio network, Thursday, August 10, he said “Generally, the coastal parts of Ghana, most specifically the eastern part which is Accra are earthquake-prone zone and these earthquakes occur as a result of the fault line.

“The coastal part of Ghana has a number of fault lines that pass through the area but the prominent one which has fault lines for the period produced some substantial earth tremors and earthquakes are the fault lines that are within the Krokrobite, Weija, and the Dansoman area.

“Most of the earthquakes that have occurred over the period are a result of the movement along the fault line. The latest one which was on the 10th of March this year, if you look at the epic center it was close to James Town, meaning that it is moving towards the current location of the Bank of Ghana.

“There are fault zone in these areas but they have not produced any substantial earth tremor it doesn't mean that there cannot be an earth tremor along those fault lines and for that if the Bank of Ghana is being proactive by doing an assessment to find out whether the current location is suitable for a central bank or not, I think it is a plus for them because they must ensure the safety of the Bank, the safety of the staff as well as the safety of whatever is contained there.”

Asked how safe is the new location from possible earthquakes, Mr Mwinbelle answered ” If you look at the earthquakes that have occurred, they have always occurred off the coastline that is into the sea, and by approximation Ridge is much further away from the coastline which is from offshore than the current location [of the Bank of Ghana] which is the High Street area.

“In terms of lateral placement the Ridge location might be much safer when it comes to earth tremors because the closer the structure is to the epic centre the more devastating that it would cause as compared to when it is further away from the epic center, we may likely experience much lower devastation on the structure.”

The central bank itself earlier explained in a statement on Wednesday, August 9 that a structural integrity assessment conducted by the BoG revealed that the current BoG Head Office building, built by the Nkrumah Government in the early 1960s, is no longer fit for purpose and could not stand any major earth tremors.

“The outcome of the structural integrity work was that the main building does not satisfy the full complement of excess strength required for a building to be considered safe for usage. This means that in the case of a worst-case gravity and wind loading scenario, for example, unusually strong wind, the building may be significantly affected.

“The building also does not have the required strength to withstand the expected imposed significant earthquake loads that would be expected to occur in the Accra area. Based on the above, and looking at the strategic objective of positioning Ghana as the financial hub of the sub-region, with prospects of a potential Headquarters for a future regional Central Bank.

“The Board and Management of the Bank considered a new Head Office building as the most important priority project to support the operational efficiency of the Bank, and also position the Bank of Ghana in a very good position to be the host of the regional Central Bank as we currently host the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) of the sub-region.”

This statement came on the back of the revelation by the Minority Leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson that the BoG was spending $250 million to put up a new head office at time the Bank is in financial difficulties.

Dr Forson accused the Governor of printing money to finance this project because the BoG has no money.

“The Bank of Ghana does not have money but spending $250million for a new head office, which means he is printing additional money to finance this project,” Dr Forson said.

He further gave the Governor and his two deputies up to 21 days starting Tuesday, August 8 to resign after indicating that the governor just prints cash to support the government's spending.

“We have to get this Governor out and let us have a new Governor. If we allow him to stay in the office, we will set bad precedence for future managers to do the same,” he said at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, August 8.

Dr Forson stressed, “He has messed us so much that we cannot wait to see his back.”

“We demand the immediate resignation of the Governor and his deputies within 21 days. We will march to occupy the central bank to save the Bank of Ghana if he fails to reign. The March will ensure accountability,” he said.