Certainly, we are in crisis, of course, a crisis of confidence that we have to work very harder to restore our economy, our dignity as Ghanaians and win back the confidence in our currency, especially the GH¢ I.
Our crisis is, perhaps, as a result of our unbridled taste for everything foreign at the expense of our local products, resulting in the free fall of the Ghana Cedi to the major trading currencies on the world market.
That Ghana Cedis was once a very strong currency following its redenomination in 2007. It was pegged at GH¢1 to one dollar. But now it is not the case. It has lost its stability and value comparable to the major trading currencies.
We can safely claim that the depreciating Ghana Cedi has certainly “broken jail” and is unleashing havoc on Ghanaians.
Last Thursday, at the First Traffic Light at Kaneshie, while on my way to the office, I pulled out a GH¢1 note to buya pack of slicedpawpaw. The hawker told me that it was no longer sold at GH¢1 but GH¢2. Ironically, we are in the pawpaw harvesting season, so one least expected that the pack of slices would be hiked by 100 percent.
Can we blame this 100-percent increase in price on the Russian-Ukraine war?
We have dumped the 50 pesewas and other coins in trading and it would not be long and the GH¢1 will go extinct. Currently, the GHC2 denomination appears short in circulation. The pointer is that very soon, traders, particularly food vendors, would say “our starting price is GH¢5”.
Now, tro-tro fares for short distance no longer go for GH¢1. You will, perhaps, be lucky for a driver’s mate to charge you GH¢1.50.
Hausa Koko with sugar, a local beverage, the favourite of most urban dwellers for the breakfast, starts selling from GH¢2.
As I posted my concern over the 100-percent increase in the price of a pack of slices of pawpaw on my WhatsApp status, this was the response from my very good elderly friend, Nana Egyir Mensa VII, Nifahene of Abeadze Traditional Area, a resident of Kyekyewere Abeadzi Dominase in the Central Region: “My brother, the farmer is also suffering from high transport cost, and he has to adjust. As for the seller, their tolls have been increased. So the cost is shared all around. It is even affecting some of us who are on pension, and not fit to work or do any work [for extra income].”
“With your small pension, what you used to buy at 5 pesewas now sells at 25 pesewas. So it’s everywhere.”
“The increases in transport fares and hike in prices of food are due to the bad nature of the roads. In my area, they have started increasing transport fares just like that. Hitherto it took me GH¢1 to travel to travel from my hometown to Mankessim (anyway it’s been a long time). But because of the bad road they started increasing it and it is now GH¢11.”
“Abridge broke down on the road, and now they use a bypass.Following that, they started increasing the fare. The drivers just love the increase. Now, with the rampant increase in prices of petroleum products, they started increasing the lorry fares the more.”
“One day, I had a confrontation with a driver’s mate; that time we had reached GH¢9. I travelled to Kromantse and I paid GH¢9 to Mankessim. When I was coming back to my village, Abeadze,I gave the driver’s mate a GHC20 note and he gave me a change of GH¢9instead of the GH¢11 I was expecting because within the past three weeks I had paid GHC9 for the same distance. When I asked him why, he said, “It is now GHC11, so that’s it”.
The Government Statistician, Professor Samuel KobinaAnnim, announced just weeks ago that the country’s year-on-year Inflation rate rose to the highest in 18 years in May to 27.6 percent due to increase in transport fares and surging food prices.
The Government Statistician told journalists in Accra at the monthly briefing on the Consumer Price Index that the increase in transport fares and surging food prices on the market influenced the current rate of Inflation.
There is growing concern among the international community about food crisis that could last for years as a result of the war between Russian and Ukraine, two countries in a region that can aptly be described as a global food basket.
The Head of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told the British Broadcasting Corporation that “Africa would be particularly badly hit because many African countries import food or fertilizers from the Black Sea region.”
We have to race against time to restore the Ghanaian Cedi, because we can’t allow the GH¢1 to become extinct!
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman