President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced plans by the government to drive black currency market operators out of business in Ghana.
The President said the government would not allow the black currency market to continue due to its impact on the strength of the cedi and the determination of exchange rates.
The President made the announcement at a meeting between top government officials and forex bureau operators at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday on poor performance of the cedi.
The discussion centred on the state of the country’s currency, the turbulence in the forex exchange market and how the situation could be addressed.
He appealed to the forex bureau operators to support the government’s efforts to tame currency speculators who had contributed to driving down the value of the cedi.
He was emphatic that the black-market must be eliminated from the financial space to arrest the pace at which the cedi loses its value against major foreign currencies.
“The initial impulse for the creation of Forex Bureaus in Ghana was that at the time when our economy was opening up and liberalising there was the need to find a mechanism for putting an end to black market operations on the country’s currency.
“That was the initial impulse, so we will have these forex bureaus regulated by the Bank of Ghana to make access to foreign exchange in a regulated and controlled manner easier. Unfortunately, somehow, this initial motivation for the creation of the forex bureaus has still not materialised.
“As you hear public commentators and commentators of the Bank of Ghana itself say, it is still the black market that is driving both the supply as well as the rate of our foreign exchange transactions. That for me is completely unacceptable and we have to find a way to work together to drive the black market out of business,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
The Ghana cedi has since the beginning of the year witnessed a steep fall in value, depreciating against major currencies due to several factors including the rebound of the strength of the US dollar, investor reaction to credits ratings downgrade of Ghana’s economy, the non-rollover of maturing bonds by non-resident investors, high crude oil prices, loss of access to the external market for borrowing and speculation.
Mr K.T Dadzie, president of the Forex Bureau Association of Ghana, told President Akufo-Addo that the past three months had not been easy for operators of Forex bureaus, and their customers.
He said the association did not have the control on the forex market beyond what the regulator, the Bank of Ghana, determined.
“We have been in this business since 1988. We have had turbulence, but this is a bit tough for all of us. We have gone through all that happened, but we tried and we survived and I know this too shall pass.
“With the announcement that we were even meeting yesterday, the rate started coming down. It means it is not natural, this has all been done by people’s speculation and trying to make windfall out of the situation that we are in” he said.
BY YAW KYEI