Margaret Ansei, a former Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Suhum in the Eastern Region has bemoaned the speed at which the country’s currency is depreciating against major trading currencies.
Speaking on Inside Politics, a political talkshow on Radio XYZ 93.1, Madam Ansei, who is popularly known as Magoo, noted that she was alarmed at the way the cedi was depreciating faster than ever, and hastened the situation should not have happened under the government whose economic management team is headed by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
She recalled how Dr Bawumia, then a running mate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2016, criticised officials of the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the economic challenges the country was battling.
“Dr Bawumia who presented himself as the all knowing within the NPP said we in the NDC could not read and understand that is why the economy was facing challenges under President Mahama, but today he (Bawumia) has gone hiding as the cedi declines faster than ever,” the 2016 NDC Parliamentary candidate for Suhum stated.
She continued that ” when they took over governance, We thought they would manage the economy very well as they promised Ghanaians. Bawumia who says he reads and understand should rescue the cedi from a free fall.”
Madam Ansei told host Mugabe Maase the Vice President ought to avail himself, hold lectures over the cedi depreciation and the cost of doing business in Ghana as he used to do prior to the 2016 elections, adding “he should not hide at all, we need him to save the cedi.”
The cedi which is currently trading at 5.55 cedis to the US dollar is making business owners and Importers uncomfortable because their capital is being shrinked each day.
Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana and Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) have lamented over the trend and fears the cedi will hit a GHS 6.00 mark in few weeks, especially as their duties and taxes on imported goods into the country are quoted in dollars.
Already, importers who are lamenting over the rate of depreciation have warned that they will have no other option but to pass on the cost to consumers.
GUTA National Welfare Officer, Ben Yeboah told Piesie Okrah on XYZ Business News on Monday they (the businesses community) have been meeeting government officials in the Finance Ministry over the development and hope the cedi is “arrested as the government announced some months back.”
To him, if Government’s popular mantra–the One District, One Factory– is given the needed attention other than a mere rhetoric, exporting local products will stabilise the dollar.
“We have factories like Nestle that manufacture milk so we don’t import much milk into the country because of its availability and price. In that same way, when we produce more we won’t be importing much into the country. It’s not that we love boarding planes to go and import, it’s because what we consume more here are not produced locally,” Mr Yeboah explained as he urged government to turn Ghana’s economy into an export-driven one.
Head of Financial Markets at the Bank of Ghana, Stephen Opata, has blamed the depreciation of the cedi on external factors due to increases in the U.S interest rates which is causing investors to move their funds to invest abroad.
Meanwhile, Government is contemplating announcing a review in the presentation of a supplementary budget statement later this year to control the situation.