Cedi stabilisation measures not to impose hardship on businesses – Seth Terkper

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy
Date: 07-02-2014 Time: 11:02:16:am

Government says its temporary fiscal measures announced this week to stabilise the cedi are not intended to impose any hardships on businesses operating in the country.

According to Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, the directives are designed to help government to manage the economic volatility as a result of the falling value of the local currency, the Ghana cedi.

The Bank of Ghana on Wednesday announced a series of measures aimed at halting the cedi’s free fall against the major trading currencies- the US dollar and the British Pound Sterling.

The announcement directed that all transactions in the country should be conducted in Ghana cedis in compliance with the Bank of Ghana Notice dated October 10, 2012. The central bank also warned of pecuniary sanctions, jail terms, suspension and revocation of the operating licence of persons who flout the rules.

“All undrawn foreign currency denominated facilities shall be converted into local currency with the coming into effect of this Notice. However, existing fully drawn foreign currency denominated facilities and loans to non-foreign exchange earners shall run until expiry,” the central instructed in a statement.

It said “Authorised dealers shall not sell foreign exchange for the credit of FEA (Foreign Exchange Account) or FCA (Foreign Curency Account) of their customers.”

Some stakeholders have however criticed the directives claiming that it will rather worsen the current economic conditions.

Dr. Kwesi Djaba, President of the Forex Bureaux Association of Ghana stated on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Friday that the measures announced are not enough to solve the challenges facing the sector.

“The problem we are facing is [that] demand has outstripped supply and automation of our operation does not bring in any supply into the system so it is not what will change the situation now,” Dr. Djaba said.

“We sit in our bureaux and they buy and we sell; we cannot influence supply in the system…What I know is that if the fundamentals are right we will get dollars in the system…What I know is that I don’t get sufficient dollars to buy and if I don’t get dollars to buy I cannot sell to anybody”.

Addressing journalists Friday, in Accra however, Mr. Seth Terkper maintained it had become necessary for government to take such measures to “manage the volatility”.

“It is not the wish of government to impose any hardship on businesses…Sometimes we have to take these measures as and when they become necessary,” Mr. Terkper stated.

He called for public support for government to successfully implement the directive which he said is in the best interest of the country.

“It is important for Ghana to adopt best practices…Everywhere you go the trading in foreign currencies is moving to electronic platforms”.

The Finance Minister assured that the Bank of Ghana will implement the measures in a manner that it will not promote the activities of those engaged in illegal currency trading.