Head of Research at Gold Coast Fund Management Limited (GCFML,) Samuel Ampah, says Ghana’s weak economy and the constant depreciation of the cedi can be averted when government tells citizens the true state of affairs so that they [citizens] will be aware and also contribute towards the revival of the economy.
“In 2012, inflation was 13.5 per; it jumped to13.8 per cent in 2013, electricity tariffs have gone up, petroleum prices have soared, unemployment is high among others yet government keeps telling Ghanaians that “we are doing well,” Mr. Ampah said on Ghana Great and Strong¸ a national empowerment programme on Ghana’s premier internet-based radio, www.hedjorleonlineradio.com in Accra last Saturday.
According to the GCFMML’s head of research, rhetorical statements being bandied around by government will not address the serious socio-economic problems the governed are facing.
“The truth is the only way to solve the national problems,” he stressed.
On the fall of the cedi, he recounted that in May 2012 [when the cedi was downgraded by Fitch,] Bank of Ghana (BoG) introduced measures that were similar to the ones it has introduced yet the cedi did not fare better.
“At the time, the cedi depreciated by 10 per cent and was traded for GHC1.75 [thus in 2013]. It ended the year close to 20 per cent. Now [that is at the end of February] it has depreciated by 11 per cent to the US dollar and about 10.7 per cent to the Pound and Euro respectively,” he disclosed.
He expressed surprise over Ghana’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dr. Tony Aidoo’s remarks purported to mean that the current economic challenge the nation is facing is a recurring one.
To Mr. Ampah, Dr. Aidoo’s statement was unfortunate in the wake of finding solution to economic mess.
He further divulged that corruption blocked most of the foreign direct investments and remittances that were supposed to come in and that the new BoG directives will rather stifle the import market.
Banker, Kofi Asamoah-Siaw, who was also a panellist on the programme, said government’s assertion that the country is doing well does not reflect in the living standards of the people.
He said the cost of operation in the financial sector has gone up yet bank customers complain bitterly about the Cost of Transactions (CoTs) charged by the banks.
“We were forced to take away such charges because a customer stopped doing business with us,” he disclosed.
He said the national currency has become less valuable for purchasing items.
The banker further stressed that there is no need to do anything extra-ordinary to avert the situation, stressing that “all that BoG seems satisfied with the normal paying workers and signing of contracts”.
He disagreed with the new BoG directives saying the country’s economic problems are not related to dollar but because we have a thriving black market and servicing loans; borrowing more and importing more.
He opined that the 1billion Euro bound was going to be used to pay off China so the Aboadze gas project is continued to stop the gas flaring.
Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, who was the host of the programme, said it was important that government told Ghanaians the situation on the ground and also did a competitive comparison with other countries like Botswana and shun the propaganda.
He said his programme was not interested in painting political a party black but to discuss issues that would make Ghana, great and strong.