Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
Comparatively, the John Kufuor and Akufo-Addo administrations have done better in strengthening the local currency, the Ghana Cedi, against the major trading currencies, especially, the dollar, than the Mills/Mahama administrations, Mr Kojo Amoateng, Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA), has said.
Mr Amoateng has, however, appealed to the current government to stop comparing its feat with the performance of the Mahama administration because they were voted out of office for non-performance.
The GUTA Chair’s comment follows assertions by Dr Gideon Boako, who speaks for Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on economic issues, to the effect that Ghanaians should not be ungrateful to the Akufo-Addo government as far as the depreciation of the cedi is concerned, since the current government has done a lot to reduce the rate of fall of the local currency from 31% to 6% – a far better record, in his view, than the Mahama administration achieved.
The cedi is nearing the 5 to $1 mark, a situation that has set businesspeople on edge.
“What is important is that; whatever the depreciation was at the time is not the same as today”, Dr Boako told Accra-based Citi TV, adding: “That is why if someone has been able to reduce the rate of depreciation from a point of 31 per cent to 6 per cent, you do not just be ungrateful to that person and say he has not done well.”
It means, he said, “That given the chance that person has what it takes to take you to a point where you have zero depreciation and you can think of how to grow up; that is the most important. If you do not situate the argument within that context, you will just be comparing the nominal figures”, Dr. Boako argued.
In his view, “It is important to also note that insofar as we don’t run a fixed exchange rate regime, depreciation is something that will be difficult to say you won’t see it at all. You try as much as possible to contain it and make sure you appreciate, but given the structure of our economy right from Guggisberg’s time to Nkrumah to today, the structure of the economy is such that we are mostly net importers, and, so, the trade accounts issued will affect our local currency at all times. We also have huge exposures to foreign investors in the country – those who are doing retail businesses and the likes, so they repatriate money outside and all of these will have effect on us”, he explained.
Speaking on this matter in an interview with Accra News’ Katakyie Obeng Mensah on the mid-day news on Accra 100.5FM, Tuesday, 11 September, Mr Amoateng said: “…We agree with Dr Boako in some aspects of his comments and in other aspects we disagree with him.”
“We agree that when it comes to strengthening the cedi, the NPP administrations – the Kufuor-led government and the current Akufo-Addo administration have done far better than the NDC did under former Presidents Mills and Mahama.
“We all know where the cedi was, as of the time the NPP left office in 2008 for the NDC to take over, and where the cedi reached when the NDC also left office in 2016 for the NPP to take over again. And, so, we know which government is performing as far as the cedi’s performance is concerned.”
“But the point is”, he added, “We voted out the NDC because we believed they were not performing and brought back the NPP and, so, the NPP administration should focus on instituting measures to further strengthen the cedi in order to make it competitive against the major trading currencies and stop comparing itself to the NDC.”
“We will urge the Ghanaian authorities to focus on the borders because the foreigners are coming into this country to trade on the black market. That is one of the reasons for the fall of the cedi,” he suggested.