The Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) has called on government to peg the dollar at a fixed rate for importers following the latest depreciation of the cedi.
According to the Association, the depreciation of the cedi has increased the cost of doing business.
“Traders are stuck now in their business. You can’t plan well. When you plan within the next 3 months things will change and the dollar is the main component for determining prices. And what’s so unfortunate is that whiles the dollar is going up, it’s the same rate that’s being used to calculate our duties at the port,” decried Charles Gyan Vice President of GUTA.
“So we as GUTA are advising government that it has come to a point that they have to peg it at the port,” he added.
The cedi in May this year per the governor of the Bank of Ghana (BOG) during an encounter with the media to present the highlights of the 82nd regular Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Meeting noted that the cedi gained 0.02percet against the dollar then, compared to a depreciation of 0.97 per cent in the same period in 2017.
Since then, however, the cedi has been fast depreciating against the dollar despite claims by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia that the government in its first 100 days in office arrested the depreciation of the cedi.
“When we came in it was running …and essentially we have arrested it,” said Dr Bawumia during a Joy FM town hall meeting in April 2017, adding “and the IGP has the key, he’s locked it up.” The cedi appreciated by some 0.41 per cent, selling at GH¢4.16 to the dollar among commercial banks when the Dr Bawumia made his famous “it has been arrested” soundbite.
In recent times, however, the cedi has recorded massive losses against the dollar, the latest being last week where it hit GH¢4.97 to the dollar. It followed a July fall where it traded at GH¢4.8250 to the dollar depreciating cumulatively, by 5.3 per cent in the first six months, compared to 3.3 per cent in the first half of 2017 despite significant increments of weekly dollar sales to local banks in the country.
In July Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta blamed external factors for the depreciation of the cedi against major international currencies during his presentation of the mid-year fiscal policy review of the 2018 budget.
The depreciating of the cedi was a major issue in the 2016 general elections, with governing New Patriotic Party (opposition then), criticizing the Mahama administration for poorly handling the economy when they were in power.