Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has hit hard at local businesses who he said have not made any serious effort to contribute to the growth of the country’s export figures.
[contextly_sidebar id=”LzHH2MwNWjuisSXqKP4Eenw1g3oNfK6D”]The high figures in imports have been highly blamed for the country’s struggling currency the cedi.
The cedi has depreciated in excess of 25 percent against major foreign currencies like the dollar, British pound and Euro between January and June this year.
There have been calls for the dismissal of the Finance Minister and the Governor of the bank of Ghana over the currency’s poor performance but speaking at the Graphic Business-Fidelity Bank roundtable discussion, Seth Terkper called on the private sector to do more to boost the country’s exports to help shore up the value of the cedi.
According to Seth Terkper ‘the country cannot continue to rely on cocoa farmers and miners’ to increase the country’s exports. “Why must we all continue to complain about imports and the cedi depreciation. Where is the export earned activities, permit me to ask the AGI, GUTA, GNCCI, how come we must all depend on cocoa farmers and miners for forex, can we not export pepper, yam whatever it is to boost our forex why must we all depend on the bank of Ghana,” he queried.
The Finance Minister added the poor performance of the cedi must not be taken out of context since its performance reflects current domestic and external factors.
‘To depreciation of currencies we have Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, Mexico, South Africa and this reflects the global context the global financial crisis is still ongoing so Ghana is also in this market so some of the effects like the beginning of the growth of the US economy on account of shale gas and others has strengthened the dollar so it’s not just domestic factors but other external factors,” he said.
He announced a number of measures government is putting in place to solve the issue of the cedi’s depreciation.
He indicated that what must be done is for “the Bank of Ghana to strengthen its swap arrangements and more liberalized use of forex like we are doing in the petroleum sector and other sectors so the reserves are not held captive.”
“We also need to tighten customs operations tariff classification and valuation, seasonality is something we need to work on there are peaks towards the end of the year, cocoa revenues come in the bond and then donors come in so by the end of the year we see better forex income, but it’s in the beginning that we don’t see much, but just like power when it comes to forex we need a medium term solution,” he added.
By: Vivian Kai Lokko/citifmonline.com/Ghana