The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said the demand for foreign exchange to support the unbridled demand for imports undermined and weakened the value of the cedi.
According to him, that contributed to the depreciation of the cedi, which had lost about 53.8 percent of its value since the beginning of the year.
Mr Ofori-Atta, stated this last Thursday when he presented the 2023 Budget and Economic Policy of Government to Parliament.
The Finance Minister said the 7 per cent average annual depreciation of the Cedi between 2017 and 2022 was driving inflation and costs of goods and services.
“It is not only the individuals and households who are adversely affected by the cedi depreciation, at the Ministry of Finance, the cedi depreciation hasseriously affected our ability to effectively manage our debts,” he said.
He said the stock of public debt had increased by GH₵93 billion since the beginning of 2022 due to the cedi depreciation, even as the state struggled to raise sufficient revenues, high inflation rates continued to eat away the already meagre wages of the average Ghanaian.
“Inflation which we managed to bring down from 15.4 percent at the end of 2016 to 7.9 percent at the end of 2019 and remained in single digits till the pandemic hit in March 2020 is now 40.4 percent” he stated.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the current macro-economic challenges had served as a lesson for the government to restructure and transform the economy and build resilience.
“We empathise greatly with all Ghanaians for the undue pressures this has placed on their livelihood, we commend all of you for your forbearance during these difficult times and we are confident that together and with God on our side, we will turn things around” he said.
Mr Ofori-Atta assured that the government was “Working to change the negative narrative and demonstrate resilience as a people and the ability to rebuild the country for a better future.”
BY ANITA ANKRAH