Editorial: US buck can be stopped in its tracks if…

November 22, 2021 By 0 Comments

The last time we checked, one US dollar was being exchanged for GH¢6.00. Since the beginning of this year, the dollar has been on the ascendency, and the problem is being attributed to more cedi notes chasing few the US bucks in the system. Whilst in most of the advanced nations, businessmen and women are people who have successfully established businesses and producing products for domestic consumption and exportation, the situation is different in Ghana.

In our part of the world, the so-called businessmen and women are the people who move from one forex bureau to the other chasing the few dollars in circulation and using them to import products that end up creating massive employment for the countries where these goods are imported from. Unfortunately, we are proud of calling ourselves business people to the extent of mounting strong protests against the removal of the benchmark value on imports.

In our view, if Ghana is to become a prosperous nation, internal production of goods and services must not be overlooked. This is the reason why we have always supported the One-District One-Factory policy being vigorously pursued by the government. Apart from massive employment that this policy would create, it will also help to cut down excessive imports that lead to the rise of the dollar against the local currency.

According to the government, the products from which benchmark values are being withdrawn are those that can easily be produced in the country. If this is the idea behind the withdrawal, shouldn’t we celebrate instead of trying to tell the world that something strange is happening in Ghana? Clearly, our ‘businessmen and women’ are only interested in what will hit their personal pockets, and not the collective interest of the state.

This also brings us to the issue of direct foreign investment in the country. Since the advent of the Fourth Republic, our leaders have been globe-trotting trying or doing everything possible to woo foreigners to come and invest here. Whilst some of these foreigners have responded by establishing profit-making industries, others have also turned this country into a dumping ground for foreign products.

They are doing so by building massive shopping malls in prime locations in the country, and stocking them with products imported mainly from their country of origin. Indeed, a drive down the popular Spintext Road in Accra will reveal the springing up of shopping malls by people who are claiming to be foreign investors. The big question is: have we, as a country, sat down to do the analysis to ascertain whether the few Ghanaians they are employing as shop attendants is enough to justify the millions of our dollars they are using to import their products and creating employment for their people back home?

In our candid opinion, the problem leading to the Cedi-Dollar disparity is can be solved, provided we will put our foot down and ensure that the right things have been done. Go to the Accra Shopping Mall, precisely Shoprite, and see the kinds of products they have imported from South Africa, when the same can be found in our local markets, if the owners make the conscious efforts to do so.

Clearly, the elephant is in the room and we are just skating around it. We need to take the bold decision to secure the future of this country. We cannot be consumers of goods and services that create employment in other countries whilst ours suffer.

The Chronicle suggests to the government to make it mandatory for all foreign investors to go into manufacturing of products in the country, instead of using us as a stepping stone to create employment in their various countries. Enough is enough!

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