‘Lack Of Confidence In Gov’t… Cause Of Cedi Fall’

Ace columnist and chartered accountant, Sydney Casely-Hayford, has stated that the “lack of public confidence” in the political administration of the country has contributed immensely to the fall of the cedi.

According to him, the history of political intolerance in the country arising from the treatment meted out to traders during the revolution era and government’s attempt to do away with certain measures that facilitate trade has contributed largely to investors withdrawing their investments.

“The history of what we have gone through, the problems of managing an economy like this is what makes us think we are on the brink of collapse…,” he said.

Government’s attempt at price controls, restriction of import license and insistence that the citizenry cannot use dollars in the system or cannot price in foreign currencies tells all is not well with the economy.

The chartered accountant, who was speaking at the maiden edition of the Today Newspaper Lectures, stated that it is important government works hard to win back that public confidence which to him is critical to the survival of the economy.

Themed: “The Public Wage Bill; Labour Agitations and the Falling Cedi: Is Ghana’s economy at the brink of Collapse,?” the symposium aimed at finding lasting solutions to the current economic crisis confronting the country.

And this economic crisis, Mr. Casely-Hayford, a one-time publisher of the Ghana News in London, said has arisen because the country has not set the right foundations for a good economy, adding the relegation to the background certain pillars and issues that have the capacity to improve upon the destiny of the country point to this.

“The economic situation in the country is so frustrating to say the least, and when we can’t put together a good educational system that can work, then it becomes challenging…we talk around things so much, we never get to start….”

Some of these, he said are the issues that have gotten to do with decentralization and the right to information bill, all of which despite the country expressing interest in having them, have not been effectively implemented.

Mr. Casely-Hayford insisted their implementation would be in the interest of the country as they are the pillars for a sound economy, thus encouraging managers of the economy to think differently, other than the old-fashioned way of management.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) could have embarked on its policy towards resuscitating the currency in a different way, arguing the central bank’s directive that hotels in the country should not charge their rates in foreign currencies is not the best.

Despite acknowledging that the measures put in place by the central bank has helped in sustaining the falling cedi to some extent, the grandson of late J.E Casely-Hayford insisted some of the measures were illegal.

The central bank, he stated, could “easily have directed that the hotels and other tourism agencies instead, charge their rates in cedis” causing foreigners to pay the cedi equivalent of the foreign currency.

On the issue of money laundering, Mr. Casely-Hayford suggested the need to have money laundering laws in progress, if government is serious about combating the cross-border crime, adding laws should be put in place to give it the legal backing.

He disagreed with the assertion by the Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Financial and Allied Institutions, Fiifi Kwetey, that the demand of labour is putting much pressure on the public wage bill.

“I am on record [to] have asked the question many times…; What Fiifi Kwetey does, I don’t know what Fiifi Kwetey does…apart from coming on air and insulting everybody else, what else can he do?,” he queried.

He described his portfolio at the presidency as an irrelevant one, especially as the government has a minister for finance, two deputies, and a ministry supporting the minister.

The abundance of staff at the presidency including the many state ministers, he said, has contributed to the soaring public wage bill, adding Rasheed Pelpuo in an answer to his [Casely-Hayford] question on TV3 on the kind of work he performs at the presidency since no law supports his portfolio as a minister in charge of Public, Private Partnership (PPP) said “government finds other things for him to do….”