Tetteh Caternor, a member of the opposition NDC communication team has descended heavily on Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia over the free fall of the Cedi.
Mr Caternor who was reacting on the effects of the cedi depreciation on Ete Sen on Radio XYZ 93.1 observed that prior to the 2016 general elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by then Running mate Dr Bawumia lambasted the Mahama administration for devaluing the Cedi.
He said Dr Bawumia promised to arrest the Cedi when voted into power yet 25 months into government, importers and exporters have seen tougher times than when the NDC was in power although the country is being governed by people who called themselves as better managers of the economy.
“We need the man who calls himself an economic whiz kid to act. If he is missing or hidden all I want to say is that he is a liar,” he told Kwame Minkah, host of the programme.
He said “In 2016 the US dollar was not like this” and charged Dr Bawumia who heads government’s Economic Team to put measures in place and ensure the Cedi regains strength as bequeated to the NPP government in 2017.
The Ghana cedi has depreciated against the US dollar by 9 percent. In February, it was GH¢4.43 against $1.00. Analysts have said it is the fastest rate of depreciation in four months.
Importers and exporters in Ghana have expressed worries over the free fall of the Cedi, saying their capital has kept shrinking significantly as the currency continues to weaken against the US Dollar.
Their fear stems from the fact that millions of Cedis injected by the Bank of Ghana to shore up the local currency is not making any positive impact.
To the importers, the amount of money needed to buy the same quantity of goods outside a year ago cannot do so today because the Cedi keeps declining. The cedi depreciation has also affected duties they pay at the ports, as that is also pegged at the current forex rate.
The situation has resulted in reducing profit margins as business owners are unable to transfer all the effect to consumers.
The Deputy General-Secretary of the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA), Richard Amamoo, told the Business & Financial Times the cedi-depreciation has affected his business.
“Last year [August], a full container of speakers cost me US$20,000 at the rate of GH¢4.7 to the dollar, making it GH¢90,000. But that same quantity of products will cost me GH¢103,000 using the current interbank rate of GH¢5.16. This means I need an additional GH¢9,200 to import that same container today,” he said
Mr Amamoo continued: “And when it comes to computation of duty, Customs is using the same dollar rate for the duty. So, in effect, the duty we paid last year for the same quantity of goods has increased because of the cedi’s depreciation,” he said.
Mr. Amamoo said importers would have some respite if government computed the duties by adjusting the rate quarterly, rather than using the daily interbank dollar rate.