The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is pleading with government to put in the necessary measures to stabilize the cedi from further depreciation against the dollar.
According to the traders, the recent depreciation of the cedi against the dollar has eroded their profits, since imports were made before the depreciation was recorded.
The cedi is said to have depreciated by about 4 pesewas in mid May.
Speaking at a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, the president of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng urged government to stabilize the local currency else it may negatively impact the economic gains made by the government.
The meeting which was held at the offices of GUTA in Accra had the government team compromising the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, Deputy Finance Ministers, Kwaku Kwarteng and Abena Osei Asare, and the Chief Director at the Ministry Patrick Nomo.
Addressing the government team, the president of GUTA, Dr. Obeng stated that government must adopt new measures to stop the cedi from further depreciation.
According to him, the sharp depreciation recorded in May was not anticipated, causing serious troubles to traders who import goods worth thousands of dollars.
“The recent depreciation has eroded all our gains because we didn’t see it coming. When the currency depreciates sharply like that, all that it means is that we are losing capital. It means that by the time you finish selling, you will have to use more cedis to buy the same dollars to import lesser than you did in the previous month,” he explained.
He lamented that traders are worse off any time such sharp depreciation is recorded.
Dr. Obeng blamed the situation on what he described as multinational companies who are allowed to repatriate millions of dollars out of the country annually.
He suggested that government must institute measures to retain part of such profits in the country.
“Around this time we know all the multinational companies have filed their returns and declared all that they have, then they move the money out. When that happens, we suffer”
Enumerating other challenges facing members of the association, Dr. Obeng urged the Finance Minister to reduce the duties on imported cables and other essential commodities at the ports in the mid-year budget review scheduled for next month.
But reacting to the issue, the Minister for Finance Ken Ofori Atta assured that government has already put in measures that will see the currency stabilize by this month.
“If you watch the numbers carefully, you will notice that the depreciation we are talking about is not as big as what has been recorded in the past. The most important thing is that we have gotten the fundamentals right and I can assure you that there is some stability. We expect the currency to stabilize going forward,” he said.
He assured that the Finance Ministry will consider the proposals made for the reduction in the import duties by looking at some tax items that could be adjusted.
By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana