A sluggish Ghana cedi coupled with an apparent weak foreign exchange law is a potentially calamitous combination, traders worry.
The Ghana cedi trades on the interbank market at 4.94 to $1, and sells at 5ghc on the black market eating away the capital of exporters, importers and automobile spare parts traders.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to do business because of the free fall of the cedi against the major currencies, particularly the US dollar, president of Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) Dr. Joseph Obeng, told Super Morning Show host, Daniel Dadzie, Tuesday.
According to Dr. Obeng, the high expectation they had in the Akufo-Addo government to halt the situation has waned rendering them helpless.
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“We all expected, [from] the analysis that they did prior to the elections, that they will be able to salvage the situation,” he stated.
But when asked if that expectation has been met, the GUTA president responded: “For now I will say no because I think something serious has to be done”.
Auto parts dealers
Dr. Joseph Obeng said the enduring case of the cedi losing value against the major trading currencies will continue if cross-border currency trading is allowed to continue unchecked.
For the spare parts dealers, they wake up each day to different exchange rates which also forces them to increase the prices of their goods. “Otherwise you go out of business and that calculation is not good for the consumer,” Chairman of the Spare Parts Dealers Association at Abossey Okai, Joseph Padi lamented.
Padi noted that the situation has also “swallowed” the windfall they enjoyed from the tax exemption announced by Finance Minister in 2017.
President of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Awingobit Asarki described the situation as “worrisome” and one that “is not good” for the Ghanaian economy.
According to him, importers are forced to go into the black market to procure the US dollars because the banks don’t have the currency.
The only choice left for the importers to make up to the extra cost incurred is to pass it on to the consumer but “even when we pass the cost on to the consumer, the consumers don’t also have the purchasing power,” he said.