pTHE Ghanaian Times in its Wednesday September 18, 2019 issue reported on how the one pesewa coin, the smallest in value of Ghana’s currency, was gradually becoming a non-legal tender.
The report was motivated by the recent 10 per cent increment in transport fares by Road Transport Operators which took effect on Monday, September 16.
As it is the case with transport increments over the years, the announcement brought about the confusion between transport operators and passengers.
Per the calculation of the 10 per cent hike, a passenger who used to pay GHC2.30 before the increment would have to pay GHC2.53 but because the one pesewa coin has been ‘faced out’ artificially, the price would have to rounded up to either GHC2.50 or GHC2.60.
From the above explanation, either the driver or the passenger would be short- changed at the end of the day because of the refusal by the commercial drivers to accept the coin.
It is, however, worth noting that commercial drivers are not the only people in the business of rejecting the one pesewa coin for goods and service as sachet water hawkers, also do not accept the coin which is a legal tender for the payment of any amount.
In a snap exercise by the Ghanaian Times to use the coin to transact business, it was roundly rejected by sachet water hawkers at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Lapaz, and Kaneshie.
Interestingly, however, multi-national shops like Shoprite, A&C Shopping Mall, Citydia, among others, still accept the currency.
At its introduction in July 2007, it was thought that the pesewa coin which came to replace the 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 cedi coins would help in the price build-up of goods and service but it is proving otherwise.
In all this, the Bank of Ghana has been silent on the flagrant disregard for the one pesewa coin by unscrupulous people despite spending huge amounts of the tax payer’s money to mint the coin every year.
According to the Central Bank’s 2018 annual report, the total cost of printing the Ghana currency, including the one pesewa coin was around GH¢146.7 million from GH¢7.4 million in 2012 representing about 1,880 per cent growth over the period.
It is in this regard that the Ghanaian Times calls on the Bank of Ghana to come clear on the relevance of the one pesewa coin to the national economy and to citizens.
Though the Bank of Ghana’s Head of Communications, Mrs Esi Hammond, had told the Ghanaian Times that the Bank would soon be embarking on a public education campaign to sensitise Ghanaians on the need to accept the one pesewa coin, we think it has been long overdue.
The bank at this point must take a decision to face-out the one pesewa coin or enforce its usage because, if multinational firms still have regard for the one pesewa coin, why not Ghanaians?
The bank’s silence on the matter is doing the nation no good because as it stands now, the coin in question is a legal tender for the payment of any amount so the BoG must enforce its usage to control sky-rocketing prices and end the rift it has built between service providers and their clients.