Economist Ishmeal Yamson says the revised forex measures by the Bank of Ghana could help restore some level of confidence in the Ghana cedi.
The Central Bank last Friday eased some of its foreign exchange restrictions, allowing holders of foreign currency and Exchange accounts to withdraw not more than 1000 dollars over the counter.
The directives would also allow exporters to keep their foreign currencies in their account without changing it cedis in five days upon receiving their proceeds.
Cash withdrawals from the FCA and FEA shall be permitted up to a limit of $1,000 or its equivalent per transaction in foreign currency. This is without prejudice to the limit of $10,000 withdrawal per travel, and the 10,000 dollars annual transfer without documentation.
The use of cheques on FCA and FEA is still not allowed.
The threshold for transfers abroad by importers without initially submitting documentation to their bankers has been increased from 25,000 to 50,000 dollars where documentation in respect of a transfer remains outstanding. Any subsequent import transaction by an importer, irrespective of value, can only be made on prior provision of documentation required for the current import transaction.
Also foreign currency loans may be granted by resident banks for international trade-related transactions, whether or not the borrower is a foreign exchange earner.
But Mr. Yamson says government must work hard to address the rising debt.
‘We should all understand that the depreciation of the cedi is not that Ghanaians have lost confidence in their cedi and therefore they prefer dollars as a means of trading, but if we do resolve the fundamental issue, which is excess spending, deficits, huge arrears and you know just to put it blankly government printing money, then the cedi would not gain confidence.’
‘So yes what the Central Bank has done will tackle the sentiment side of the equation but it will not deal with the fundamental core issue which is fiscal excesses and that is where our focus must be and in fact to say then that, fiscal managers must compliment the actions now taken by the Central Bank’.
Meanwhile, some businesses say although they welcome the review, they would have wished for a total removal of all the measures.
James Asare Adjei, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, said ‘We are looking at the absolute reversal of all the measures which were introduced in February.’
He maintained: ‘The measures introduced have not helped or solved the problem of depreciation, and hence reversing it wouldn’t more or less contribute to the escalation of the depreciation.’
‘What we think should be done is a more concrete approach to solving our foreign exchange shortage such that going forward we can note that there is adequate or sufficiency of foreign exchange to businesses particularly those in import to the effect that when their import bill fall due they would be able to get dollars to pay and that is what we are basically looking forward to.’
Importers and Exporters who were badly affected by the measures are also asking for full control of their accounts.
Executive Secretary of Exporters and Importers Association, Samson Asaki Awingobit tells Joy Business the Bank of Ghana could have done better.
(posted by IE)
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