Danger looms Stakeholders unhappy over govt's poor handling of economy

The cedi continues to depreciate against the major international currencies this month.

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Ghana Cedi

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More trouble looms for government as various industries and associations complain about the government's poor handling of the economy.

The fast depreciation of the cedi is gradually hurting local businesses. As a result of the depreciation, goods imported into the country have become expensive on the local market.

The situation has also slowed down businesses, as producers face challenges in procuring raw materials, while customers are unable to buy the goods on the market.

Checks at the interbank level indicated that $1 is being exchanged for GH¢4.25 while at the forex bureaux $1 is being quoted for between Ghc4.30 and Ghc4.31. At the black market level, $1 is going for between GH¢4.35 and GH¢4.38.

The Monetary Policy Committee had confirmed in its report that the developments in the foreign exchange market indicated a further weakening of the domestic currency in 2015.

From January to May 8, 2015, the cedi cumulatively depreciated by 17.2 per cent against the dollar, compared to 21.3 per cent recorded in the same period in 2014 but the stakeholders are wondering why at a time when the currency was expected to stabilise, it was still falling; an indication that there was a lot wrong with monetary and fiscal policies.

But the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Mr. Goerge Ofori; Executive Secretary of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr. Seth Twum Akwaboah, and a currency analyst, Mr. Kofi Ampah in an interviews with the Daily Graphic, said they had lost confidence in the monetary policies in particular because at the interbank market, the cedi was weakening by the day.

The President of GUTA, Mr. George Ofori, said the association’s members who borrowed from foreigners to do business were losing out because at the time of repayment, the depreciating cedi compelled them to add their capital to defray their debt.

“We are seriously losing out and the rate at which this is happening is most unfortunate and alarming”, he said.

“The economy is being choked with triplets; the depreciating cedi, unending energy crisis and inflation, and I wonder what they can tell us again. They said they would solve these but what do we see? So now you can understand why we have lost confidence in the monetary and fiscal policies of the government”, Mr. Ofori said.

A currency analyst, Mr. Ampah, blamed the Bank of Ghana for not monitoring the commercial banks enough do what would help its policies to become more effective.

To him, these developments have been with the country for many decades and wondered why the managers of the economy were not thinking outside the box to find alternatives.

“We need to reduce our deficits because a twin deficit is not helpful to any economy; we also need to work to bring down inflation and that is where we will begin to see some positives”, he said.

On the part of the AGI, Mr. Seth Twum Akwaboah, said the daily depreciation of the cedi was making it difficult for businesses to forecast and plan.

“We have monitored the events surrounding the cedi over time and noticed that the fall of the cedi is seasonal because within the first quarter we know it to fall and stabilise by the second quarter”, he said, but noted that “unfortunately, this time round, the situation is different because at this time when we expect some relative stability, things are rather worsening by the day”.

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