GUTA threatens to close shops over cedi depreciation

Members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) will on Monday close all shops in the Greater Accra Region to express their displeasure about the depreciation of the Cedi against other major trading currencies.

Also, all clearing agents have been instructed, to halt clearing of goods at the ports on that day.

Announcing this at a press conference in Accra yesterday,the president of the group, Dr Joseph Obeng indicated that the rapid and continuous depreciation of the cedi, rise in interest rate and the high inflation rate, among others had caused the collapse of many businesses in the country.

He said the effect of inflation had also drastically reduced consumers’ purchasing power, adding that the inability of consumers to purchase more kept affecting business turnover, adding “we believe that with the mandate and resources given to the government to manage the affairs of the country, they can turn the economy around.”

“We as members of the business community are ever ready to avail ourselves to help government in its quest to find solutions to these myraids of problems,” he added.

Government, as a matter of urgency, he said, must inspire hope and confidence in the system, by way of appropriate policy direction that would improve productivity.

Dr Obeng further urged the government to focus on finding a means to control the excessive demand for foreign exchange in the country.

He explained that one major cause of the excessive demand for forex was the excessive importation into the country with the “overbearing” influx of foreigners in the country’s trading sector which the nation’s investment laws could be used to regulate the menace.

The GUTA president also called on the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to monitor and enforce its regulation of controlling trading with the dollar on the local market, while encouraging businesses to transact with the mainstream banks by relaxing stringent requirement on documentation.

This, he said, would control activities of the black market.

“There should be a clear distinction between the forex bureau and what we call the black market since the forex bureaus are legitimate, we should do everything to streamline their activities to benefit the country. Our businesses are collapsing, we cannot take it any longer,” he stressed.

In furtherance, DrObeng dispelled rumours that traders were the cause of the rising cost of living in the country.

Among other things, he mentioned that the government must also ensure that the compulsory maritime insurance policy was withdrawn and also review a system targeted at increasing duties on the importation of second-hand clothing.

BY RAISSA SAMBOU

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