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Mahama to gov’t: Seek help to manage the cedi

botchway March 15, 2019


From Kwesi Alfred Adams, Takoradi                  .
Considering the rate at which the Ghana cedi is tumbling against the major foreign currencies, former President John Mahama has urged the Akufo-Addo government to admit its shortcomings in the management of the economy and call for help.
The cedi appears to have broken jail from the hands of management of the economy, considering the rate it is tumbling against the major currencies. The Dollar, Pound Sterling and Euro, the three major currencies, have suffocated the cedi for the last two months.
The cedi is currently being exchanged for the dollar at GH¢5.20 pesewas, whilst the Pound Sterling is going for GH¢6.88. Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, who promised to arrest the cedi, jail it and hand over the keys to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), appears to have gone dead silent over the development.
Reacting to the development on his facebook page yesterday, former President Mahama wrote, “The recent free fall of the cedi against all major foreign currencies may be exposing a deeper malaise in the fundamentals of the economy. It may serve Akufo-Addo/Bawumia and their economic team well to own up to their shortcomings and call a Senchi type stakeholder forum on the economy.
“There are times when a leader or a party must admit that they do not have all the answers to the challenges facing the economy or a particular sector. At such times, it does not take away from your dignity, but adds to your credibility, when you create a consultative process that forges a consensus and allows a nation to move forward.
“I faced one such decision point as President in 2014. The 3-day Senchi Economic Forum was held in May 2014. It was a broad consultative process, and even though it was boycotted by the opposition NPP, it achieved its objective of producing the famous Senchi Report, which contributed to the Homegrown Fiscal Consolidation Programme.
This Homegrown Fiscal Programme led eventually to the ECF with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and resulted in one of the most stable periods in Ghana’s economic history in 2016, with the cedi being one of the best performing African currencies.
This administration is probably at such a decision point. The recent free fall of the cedi against all major foreign currencies may be exposing a deeper malaise in the “fundamentals of the economy”.
It may serve Akufo-Addo/Bawumia and their economic team well to own up to their shortcomings and call a Senchi type stakeholder forum on the economy.”
The free fall of the cedi has come as a worry to business men and women with President Akufo-Addo recently expressing worry over the development. The Bank of Ghana (BoG) announced last week that it was going to pump $800 million to the country’s reserve this month to stabilise the cedi against the dollar.
Last year, the BoG pumped a total of $560 million to support the cedi’s depreciation that saw the net international reserve declining to $3.8 billion in December. The head of Financial Markey at the Central Bank, Mr. Stephen Opata, has said that the accumulation of more dollars would help increase the net international reserve to around $4 billion, enough to provide confidence in the system and help stabilise the free fall of the cedi.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has also given the assurance that the government was going to stabilise the cedi in the next few weeks. Speaking to journalists outside Parliament House on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the government was expecting large inflows of foreign exchange, which will help turn around the value of the cedi.
“Really, I am very confident that a reversal is going to occur, and that it [cedi] is going to be pretty stable going forward. We have about 200 million dollars coming in from Cocobod, and another 600 million from cocobod in a month or so…and that should close within the next weeks or so…with the type of capital that we expect in the few weeks, we really expect a reversal and a stability,” the Finance Minister said.

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