From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi
The Public Interest, Research Advocacy Network (PIRAN-Ghana), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has called on the government to consider reversing the Ghana cedi to Ghana pound.
According to the NGO, there is evidence to prove that most colonies that still hold on to the currency of their colonial masters have a better valued currency than their counterparts who opted for their local currency, hence, the persistent depreciation of the currencies of Ghana, Nigeria et al.
The President of PIRAN, Mr. Felix Djan Foh, in a statement, indicated that since there is no hope of arresting it anytime soon, reversing the current Ghana cedi back to the pre-independent Ghana pound would save the situation .
The NGO said the continuous devaluation of our local currency against the major foreign trading currencies, after the West African Pound for British West Africa colonies, the Ghanaian Pound (1958-65), for the pre-independence Ghana legal tender, the new cedi that replaced the Ghanaian Pound, which also give way for the Ghana cedi in June 2007, has had very little impact.
The 2007 redenomination that removed four digits made the Ghana cedi the highest denominated currency unit used in Africa, but that was short lived for some few months, as it started falling to today.
It said after the cedi had been redenominated to give value to it (Ghana Cedi), it is trading at GH¢1.00 to US$5.20 currently, from 0.90Gp against US$1 in 2007.
PIRAN observed that in all the four historical levels of our currency, the era from the new cedi to the present Ghana cedi has shown unimaginable devaluations without any government demonstrating the capacity to, at least, maintain the rate where it picked it from.
As a result, the Ghanaian currency, from July 1965 to today, has, in most cases, rated among the weaker currencies, yet our national leaders are not showing any visible signs of giving value to our legal tender, except to engage in needless changes of either removing a past leader’s image/face from the bank note, or changing features and outlooks, which does not address the problem of the persistent and continuous fall of the cedi.
PIRAN noted that with the persistent trend unchecked, a stable cedi against the major trading partners will forever be a dream, hence, the call to reverse the current legal tender back to the Ghana pound to gain value for our bank notes.
The public advocacy group noted that the dollarisation of the economy, and government policy on trade agreements that allow foreign businesses to repatriate 80% of profits to offshore accounts, is a disincentive to the currency appreciation of the host bank note.
It also bemoaned the situation where hotels, boutiques, houses and land, among others, are all traded in pounds and dollars, instead of the cedi, and reminded the government of its responsibility to ensure the value and stability of our legal tender/bank notes.
The NGO said it is not a taboo to go back for the Ghana Pound of old, where the cedi is proving untamed in response to the Ghanaian proverb that “Sankofa wonkyere meaning it is not wrong to go back for an old practice which proves to be better and can serve a purpose.
“Benin, Burkina Faso, La Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo still maintain currencies of their colonial masters, while Namibia, Liberia, Zimbabwe use the dollar, with others using rupee, pounds and the rest, it would not be out of order to go back our colonial master’s pound, if it can guarantee a stronger and competitive currency.
PIRAN pointed to Zambia’s Kwacha (ZMW), saying it has not experienced many changes in features and outlook as our new and Ghana cedi, yet it is one of the strongest currency in Africa and won the strongest currency in Africa in 2013, a feat the Ghana cedi is yet to attain.