The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Association of Bankers says the banking sector is making strides in procuring armoured vehicles to protect the lives of security personnel during the cash-in-transit operation.
According to him, despite the progress, there are issues of timeline challenges with respect to procuring the armoured vehicles.
Speaking on PM Express Business Edition on Thursday, Mr Awuah told host, George Wiafe that it takes about a month or two to complete the approval process at the Ministry of Interior.
He explained that this is so because such a matter is regarded as a national security issue.
“We are doing pretty well. We have worked around with our third party providers and the police service and the military who assist us in the cash-in-transit activity.
“We are complying to the extent that the constraints in the environment will allow. Procuring an armoured van, the approval process you have to go through alone will take you about a month or two. So it is not a matter of day and night thing but what programs and systems have we put in place to ensure that even if we don’t have a sufficient number of armoured vans, but the few that we have, even those that do not meet the requirements, what security mechanisms do we have in place to ensure they can operate safely and without endangering the lives of our people that we work with.
“As I speak, we have made a lot of progress in that area. There are hiccups here and there in getting the approval of the Ministry of Interior because these things are also national security issues,” he stated.
According to Mr Awuah, the sector is looking at procuring about 300 armoured vehicles by the end of the year, hence the need for due diligence to ensure such equipment does not fall into the hands of the wrong people to cause catastrophe.
“We are talking about procuring in total 300 armoured vehicles. If one falls into the hands of the wrong person, people will be coming to your house and they will not be coming in pickups, they will be coming in armoured vans and we don’t want that to happen. That is why we understand the kind of rigour that the national security apparatus is taking this process through to ensure that we don’t bring in armoured vans and fall into the wrong hands,” he stated.
When asked if there were any timelines put in place, Mr. Awuah replied that: “Yes, we have communicated that to the Bank of Ghana and as far as we know, I think things are progressing as planned.”
He, however, failed to comment further on the matter stating that “we are in the public domain so I can’t go into details.”
His comments come after the murder of police officers while escorting bullion vans transporting money.
The late Constable General, Emmanuel Osei, was one of the few who lost their lives due to such attacks. He met his untimely death on June 24, at Adedenkpo, a suburb of James Town in Accra
Following the surge in bullion van attacks, former Inspector General of Police (IGP), James Oppong-Boanuh directed banks to use fortified bullion vans in transporting cash or else risk losing police escort.