Let’s Have Confidence In The Cedi – President

pres mahamaPresident John Mahama yesterday, called on Ghanaians, especially, the business community, to have confidence in the Cedi since that is the only way to protect it against depreciation.

He said the clamour for foreign currencies, particularly the dollar and the pound sterling, by Ghanaians for domestic financial transactions, would not help in enhancing the integrity and stability of the economy.

“If all of us don’t have faith in the Cedi, when is the Cedi going to be strong,” he asked.

President Mahama, who made the call during an interaction with a section of senior media practitioners in Accra on the state of the economy, prayed that Ghanaians, and the business community in particularly, cooperate in the implementation of measures to restore stability of the local currently and overall confidence in the economy.

He said business operators need to consider the implementation of recent measures by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to halt the dollarisation of the economy, as a joint responsibility in protecting the local currency.

“These are difficult decisions to take, but they will protect the integrity of the economy, and show good results down the line,” hestressed.

He noted that apart from the measures being undertaken by BoG, the government was also pursuing interventions to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign currencies.

The interventions, he said included the introduction of incentives to increase local production of commodities so as to cut the high rate of import of commodities that could be produced locally.

In addition, he said the petroleum and stability agreements covering the oil and gas sector, were being reviewed to ensure that foreign companies repatriate the proceeds from the sale of export products into local bank accounts.

The measure, which is being practiced by most mineral producing countries, was better than allowing the companies to keep the proceeds in accounts outside the host country.

“The fundamentals of our economy must change,” he said, adding that the overdependence on imported items was not the best.

He noted that he would, in his impending State-of-the -Nation Address, announce give details of the challenges and provide a road-map which all Ghanaians would have to support in advancing the economy.

The President bemoaned the increased importation of foreign products, many of which could be produced locally, adding that the trend had to be reversed to allow more production and export.

“We can’t continue to be a nation of traders,” he said, adding that, “We need to move out of our comfort zones” and engage in more production.

He explained that in 2013, Ghana spent over GH¢ 1billion on the import of seven food items including rice, sugar, cooking oil, and frozen foods, indicating that this country could produce them locally by cutting such imports.

The government, he said, could not do it alone, and therefore, urged the private sector to engage in more production, since government was ready to offer the necessary support.

He cited for example, “Nkatie burger” which started with importation but started producing locally when it was realized it could be easily produced in Ghana.

Mr. Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Trade and Industry Minister, who took part in the interaction, shared their perspective on the challenges facing their economy, but were optimistic that the measures by the central bank would achieve the desired results.

Mr. Terkper indicated that the government would continue to engage the various stakeholders such as the importers and banks to ensure a clearer understanding of the fiscal and monetary interventions so as to secure their cooperation in the implementation process. By Edmund Mingle

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