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Analysts push for long-term policies to arrest cedi depreciation

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Analysts push for long-term policies to arrest cedi depreciation

The cedi has depreciated by 11 percent between January last year and the same period this year. It is time for government to focus on policies that will encourage the production of goods that the country is capable of while adding value to exports as a sustainable means of reducing imports and strengthening the local currency, financial and economic analysts have said.

The cedi has currently crossed GH¢5 to a dollar compared to GH¢4.42 in the same period last year and GH¢4.27 in January 2017 – a situation many fear will get worse if long-term measures are not put in place.

This essentially means that the cedi has depreciated 10.6 percent against the US$ since January 2018.

Head of Finance Department at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. John Gatsi, told the B&FT that until managers of the economy focus on long-term policies that will reduce the import of products that can be easily produced in the country, the cedi’s woes will never cease.

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“The Bank of Ghana report shows that rice importation has increased to US$300million, while sugar imports also increased to US$123million. We already have policies for reducing rice importation; we already have policies toward reducing sugar import in the form of the Komenda Sugar Factory. So, it means we are not implementing policies that should limit the demand of certain commodities.

“We also know that some agriculture produce is part of the items we import into this country. So, the question is: what is our agricultural policy achieving? What is it directed toward? It should be targetted toward sustainable food production and dealing with key imports that we have the ability to produce. But it seems we are not managing the agriculture sector as part of the policies to address depreciation of the currency,” he said.

He further debunked the idea that the local currency is suffering from external shocks, particularly the strength of the US economy – saying if the country focuses more on the things it has control over, the impact of external shocks will not be felt.

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“Even though we may explain this with some factors such as performance of the US dollar, the point is that most countries trade with the US dollar but their currencies are not depreciating the way the cedi is. We need to deal with the factors that we have control over; and after we have done so, then we will see that international developments have minimal effects on our economy,” he said.

His view is also shared by an economics professor at the University of Ghana, Peter Quartey, who said the currency depreciation is a result of excess demand for foreign currency over-supply, which is caused mainly by the high level of importation.

“There is excess demand over supply for forex. And what is causing this is that our imports continue to be a challenge: we tend to import quite a lot.

“A sustainable way of managing the exchange rate is to export more value-added products, not raw materials. We have to add value to all things we export – like cocoa, gold etc., before they are exported,” he said in an interview with the B&FT.

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He further urged the central bank to enforce its regulation on forex trading, as he argues all efforts to address the depreciation will be in vain if forex trading is not properly regulated.

“[In Ghana] you can walk to any corner and exchange money without any identification. In most countries you cannot do that; you need a passport or some identification to do that. But in our case, people walk in from neighbouring countries and come and load the dollars into suitcases and go.

“So, if we don’t address this problem, no matter how much Bank of Ghana pumps in, it will leak. I heard the Bank of Ghana has started it, but I want to see more effort,” he said.

Source: thebftonline.com

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1 million waste bin project launched in Accra

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1 million waste bin project launched in Accra

Universal Plastic Products and Recycling(UPPR) Ghana Limited in collaboration with Ecobank Ghana Limited and the Environment Service Providers Association has launched a 1 million Waste Bin project aimed at reducing “indiscriminate disposal” of waste in Ghana.

The launch which took place at the headquarters of ECOBANK GHANA LIMITED saw in attendance various stakeholders in the sanitation value chain,including the ministry of sanitation, members of Parliament, municipal assembly members and the media.

According to the managing director of Ecobank Ghana Limited,Mr Dean Sackey, Ecobank Ghana’s collaboration in this big project stems from its commitment to helping in the creation of massive awareness about environmental cleanliness among Ghanaians.

He reiterated the need for every home in Ghana to have a waste bin which according to him is essential in ensuring proper disposal and recycling of waste.

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He revealed that Ecobank on its part has invested at least 10 million dollars as a medium term loan facility to support the production of waste bins to be distributed across the country.

The president of the Environmental Service Providers,Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong indicated that the current filth insurgency engulfing the country can be attributed to the lack of sufficient waste bins in homes,workplaces,public bus stations and other places of the public sphere.

Speaking on the project,the chief Operating Officer for technical and Logistics Cluster of the Jospong Group of companies,Mr Alex Atakorah indicated that ensuring good sanitary conditions in Ghana can only come about through Public-Private partnership approach which is currently being pursued.

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According to him,the Sustainable development goals which support a clean environment could never be achieved without the use of waste bins.

He also revealed that most of the operation the the Universal Plastic Products and Recycling are sourced and recovered from their dumpsites and landfills which all contribute immensely towards reducing the waste burden on the country.

The 1 million Waste project is expected to further complement the existing sanitation initiatives by the various government institutions in the country including Metropolitan assemblies and District Assemblies.

Background

The special waste bins under the 1 million Waste Bin project have been fitted with Radio Frequency Identity tags that enable the Waste management companies to closely monitored to record how often the bins get emptied.

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This feature is expected to eliminate the current situation of “Over-spill” of waste bins which often lead to air pollution and contamination.

Uniformed officials of the waste management companies with ID cards are expected to move into communities for the purposes of distributing and registering of the waste bins to homes,schools,offices and other public spaces.

Source: ghanaweb.com

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Ghana signs deal to buy six aircraft for new national airline

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Ghana signs deal to buy six aircraft for new national airline

The government on Tuesday, November 18, 2019, signed a deal with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada at the on-going Dubai Air Show to buy six Dash8-400 aircraft to start its national airline.

Citi Business News understands that the aircraft will be purchased by the first quarter of 2020.

The plan to reestablish a national carrier has been on the drawing board for some time now.

Following the signing of the agreement, issues of financing and others are expected to be finalized which will be presented to Cabinet for approval and then to Parliament.

The new deal, signed by the Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, is expected to boost Ghana’s dream of seeing to it that a new national airline hits the skies.

The Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Ghana’s behalf, said “They’re manufacturing Dash-8s, which used to be called Q-400, that can take upwards of 82 passengers. That will be able to serve the domestic and regional needs of the passengers. We’ve done our research and we’ve assessed all the aircraft available, and we think these ones are the ones most efficient and suitable given the weather and so on, that we can use to carry Ghanaians within the country and also send them to other West African countries all the way up to Senegal, The Gambia, Cameroun, and Congo as well”.

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“So these are things that the route planning people will work on as far as the details are concerned. But we want to be sure we’ve got the critical sets of aircraft that the airline can start operating them.”

Ghana signs MoU for 3 Dreamliners

Ghana has also signed an MOU (Letter of intent) for three (3) Boeing 787-9 planes.

“The second one is the Boeing 787-9, that’s a long haul. Long haul means it goes trans-oceanic. It goes to Europe, North America, it can go to Middle East and Asia. These were signed for three of the aircraft. These are all Memorandum of Understanding; they’re letters of intent indicating our desire to procure these aircraft. There are other processes we have to go through now with the manufacturers themselves, the government of Ghana, the approvals that would be required from all the government levels, we have to go through that between now and the end of the year to secure that.”

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The Minister says Government will be assessing the various options in procuring the aircraft.

“There are different ways of procuring an aircraft. There’s a leasing arrangement that can go on with a third party paying for the aircraft, then you will pay periodically may be monthly or quarterly for the service of the aircraft with some down payment. There’s also the outright purchase which is another option. So these are options that we’ve weighed and we will place before the government. We’re hoping that once the government makes a decision on this, we will be able to make payments that are required for the aircraft to be delivered. We’ve been able to get some good discounts from where we are starting with the two manufacturers, and we think they’re reasonable terms which I cannot disclose for now, but once I meet cabinet and parliament these will become public knowledge.”

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A name for new home-based airline

According to the Aviation Minister, a search is still ongoing on how to call the new national airline.

“So we’re happy that this has brought us to one tip of the bridge, so once we conclude the procurement, then we cross over to the next end of the bridge which means that we’re now airborne with a home-based airline. The name itself we’re waiting to discuss that at the government level, and gathering some inputs from different parties.”

Source: citinewsroom.com

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No more expiry of voice, data bundles – Telcos ordered

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No more expiry of voice, data bundles – Telcos ordered

The Ministry of Communications has directed telcos to roll over all unused data and voice bundles purchased by customers.

This will mean unused data and credit will not expire.

“All unused data and voice bundles purchased by subscribers do not expire and must be rolled over with the next recharge,” the Ministry said in the statement that also directed teclos to cease the instant deduction of the Communications Service Tax (CST).

The Ministry assured that Mobile Network Operators will be subjected to “strict compliance with exiting Quality of Service (QoS) standard to ensure value for the subscribers’ money in accordance with their licence obligations.”

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The directive came in a letter written to the National Communications Authority and was copied the Chief Executive Officers of MTN and Vodafone as well as the two Deputy Ministers of Communication.

The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said this was part of measures to”minimise the negative impact of deduction of the CST.”

Currently, only AirtelTigo offers data bundles that do not expire.

Source: citinewsroom.com

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