Cedi Fall: ‘Ghanaian businesses are collapsing, when will Akufo-Addo learn?’ – Steve Hanke

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A Professor of Applied Economics at the Johns Hopkins University, Steve H. Hanke has said since January 1, 2020, Ghana’s Cedi has depreciated by a stunning 42.3% against the United States Dollar.

He asked when the President will learn and act quickly to address this issue following the protest by businesses.

“Now, Ghanaians are shutting businesses down in protest. When will President Akufo-Addo learn?” He asked in a tweet.

He added ” Ghana must mothball its central bank and install a currency board!”

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The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) on Monday, August 22 asked all traders to close shops, starting Monday, August 29 to register their displeasure at the currently high cost of doing business in the country.

GUTA’s President Dr Joseph Obeng further asked members to hoist red flags on their shops as they scale up pressure on government to address their concerns.

Dr Obeng urged government to give them a listening ear as they have solutions to the current crisis.

Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured that measures are being taken to resolve the fall of the Cedi.

Mr Akufo-Addo noted that prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana had one of the fastest growing economies not just in Africa, but across the world.

“However, the ravages of the pandemic, worsened by the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have led to spiraling freight charges, rising fuel costs, high food prices, steep inflationary spikes and widespread business failures. I am fully aware that these are very difficult times for us in Ghana, just as they are for most people in the world, cold comfort as that may be,” he said.

One of the ways towards bringing the economy back on track, the President said, is the approach to the International Monetary Fund, which he described as an important step.

“Other steps will be taken, in particular, to deal with the unacceptable depreciation of the cedi. Reining in inflation, by bringing down food prices, is a major preoccupation of the Government, and this season’s emerging, successful harvest will assist us achieve this objective, together with other policies that are being put in place,” Mr Akufo-Addo stated when he delivered an address at the opening of the 12th Biennial and 50th Golden Conference of the Methodist Church of Ghana.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) in a statement called for calm as it has introduced measures to resolve the fall of the Cedi. The BoG has identified five key reasons for the woes of the local currency.

These are “The strength of the US dollar, Investor reaction to Credit Rating Downgrade, Non-Roll over of Maturing Bonds, The sharp rise in crude oil prices and impact on the Oil Bill, Loss of External Financing.”

The measures introduced to resolve these, according to the BoG, are the “Gold Purchase Program to increase foreign exchange reserves; Special Foreign Exchange Auction for the Bulk Distribution Company’s (BDCs) to help with the importation of petroleum products; Bank of Ghana is entering into a cooperation agreement with the mining companies to provide BOG with the opportunity to buy gold as when it becomes available.

“The Bank of Ghana is supporting the banking sector with foreign currency liquidity to help meet the demand for external payments. The recently approved USD750,000,000 Afriexim loan facility by Parliament, once disbursed, will boost the foreign exchange position of the country and help restore confidence.

“The Cocoa Loan is expected in the last quarter of the year. This facility will also help provide more foreign currency to help address the cedi depreciation. In the short term, we expect that when the IMF programme is finalized, it will also go a long way to help restore confidence in the economy and drive portfolio flows.”

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