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Cedi depreciation can’t be solved with public lectures and flawed analysis – Nii Moi Thompson – Citi Business News

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A former Director General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr. Nii Moi Thompson says the government must take practical steps in addressing the depreciation of the cedi.

He said the situation cannot be tackled successfully with “flawed and politicized analysis or through public lectures.”

In an article highlighting the cause of the country’s currency and proffering some solutions, Dr. Thompson indicated that the situation has been significantly addressed if government cuts down on its foreign expenditures including foreign trips.

“It is clear that the cedi’s woes cannot be addressed successfully with flawed and politicised analyses, or through public lectures full of sound and fury that signify nothing. Addressing those woes will, instead, require sober reflection, a clear vision of the cedi’s and the economy’s future, sound policies, and disciplined action, all of which will certainly transcend governments,” he said.

“In the immediate term, as the crisis rages on, the government must begin as a matter of urgency by curbing frivolous spending, especially spending that is likely to weaken the cedi further. This includes the importation or purchase of luxury vehicles; a reduction in foreign travels by public officials (if they could do it at the height of Covid, they can do it now); an end to the president’s extravagant lifestyle and those of his appointees generally; an end to endless foreign “medical reviews” for public officials, including MPs; and any other spending that puts needless pressure on the cedi,” he added.

Ghana’s economy is going through turbulent times as it is plagued with a number of challenges, including rising inflation and the rising cost of fuel.

The country’s currency is also depreciating, especially against the US dollar, while the public debt level has attained an unsustainable level.

Various suggestions are being made on how to salvage the situation.

The Director of Strategy and Business Operations at Dalex Finance, Joe Jackson, for instance, recently cautioned the government against pumping dollars into the economy in a bid to tackle the depreciation problem.



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BoG should deal with cedi stability, others -Togbe Afede XIV

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The Paramount Chief of Asogli Traditional Area, Togbe Afede XIV, has once again charged the Bank of Ghana to address the perennial volatility of the Ghana cedi and the high interest rates in the country.

According to him, the Central Bank is veering off its core mandate of ensuring price and exchange rate stability as their contribution towards the realisation of the macro-economic objectives of growth and job creation.

Receiving the board of the National Petroleum Authority in a courtesy call, he questioned the high profit trumpeted by the Bank of Ghana in 2020, which he believes is as a result of the high interest rates that are costs to other sectors of the economy. 

“The banking sector is making huge profits.  Absa reported a profit before tax of ¢1.1 billion, while Ecobank and GCB reported after-tax net incomes of close to ¢600 million last year. BOG itself made a profit of ¢1.57 billion ($270 million) in 2020, about four times the profit that Bank of England made.”

“Bank of England presides over a $2.7 trillion economy. Ghana’s economy is only about a $72 billion, about one-fortieth, yet our central bank made so much money. Sadly, from the high interest rates that are costs to other sectors have to bear. High interest rates have only succeeded in creating the most profitable banking sector in Africa, while wreaking havoc on other sectors and destroying the structure of our economy”.

He further bemoaned the state of industries in Ghana, owing to the fact that most important sectors are owned by foreigners which he believes does not augur well for Ghana.

Togbe Afede XIV therefore called for a change in the structure of the economy, questioning the high inflation which has become a permanent feature of the economy.

‘If you look at our economy, including the oil and gas sector, you will realize that the bulk of it, unfortunately, the most important sectors, are owned by foreigners. So, a huge chunk of our earnings accrues to foreigners.  Our mining, banking and telecoms sectors are dominated by foreigners. Thus, large movement of funds out of these sectors, for dividend payments, for example, wipe out our trade surpluses, and invariable, we suffer deficits, with adverse ramifications for the cedi.”

“It means that the structure of our economy has to change. We learned and talked about this since the time we were studying economics in secondary school. Can you imagine?”

He called for a relook at the approach to tackle inflation as a country and called for a positive fiscal, trade and monetary policies.

“The Bank of Ghana has always tried to fight inflation with high interest rates, but it has not worked. The problem is they increase interest rates based on recorded inflation, among others, which is effectively past price changes, instead of expected inflation. Their approach inadvertently transmits past trends into the future, in a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

 “We need, as a nation, to look critically at how we fight the battle against inflation”, he intimated.



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GPHA congratulates Director-General on his election as IAPH Vice President, African region

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The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has sent a congratulatory message to its Director General, Michael Achagwe Luguje on his election as the Vice-President (Africa Region) of the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH).

IAPH is the global alliance of Ports and Harbours, with membership of over 160 Ports and 120 port-related businesses from 87 countries.

GPHA is member of the IAPH, and it is significant that its Director General now holds the position of Vice-President for Africa Region.

Polling 13 votes out of 14, Mr. Luguje, in line with Article 21 of IAPH Constitution, assumes the responsibility until next annual general meeting at the IAPH World Ports Conference in 2023.

From the humble beginnings in Pong-Tamale L.A. Primary School, Tamale and Navrongo Secondary Schools, through the University of Ghana, the World Maritime University and others, Mr. Luguje, has risen through the ranks from the office of the Special Assistant to the then Director General of GPHA to become the West and Central African Regional Coordinator of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nation’s specialised regulatory agency for global shipping and maritime transport.

GPHA congratulates Director-General on his election as IAPH Vice President, African region

He also served as one of the longest Secretary-Generals of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA).

In 2017, Mr. Luguje mobilized member ports from the Africa region towards the successful election of Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, to the office of Vice-President, Africa Region of the IAPH.

Further to the congratulatory note from the Board, Management and Staff of GPHA, the Chiefs, Elders and Good People of the Kasena-Nankana Traditional Areas, and the Savelugu-Nanton District have expressed pride and joy for this noble son of theirs.



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MSMEs are key to economic growth in the CommonWealth – CWEIC CEO

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The Chief Executive of the CommonWealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), Rosie Glazebrook, has noted that Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) are key to the development of many economies in the Commonwealth.

This, in her view, underscored the CWEIC strategy to work with partners in key CommonWealth markets to foster MSME growth.

Ms. Glazebrook made these comments when she paid a courtesy call at one of the CWEIC’s key partners in Ghana, UMB (Universal Merchant Bank).

This formed part of Madam Glazier official tour of Ghana, this week. The bank structured the visit to enable Madam Glazebrook get a first-hand view of Ghanaian MSMEs, by hosting the CWEIC delegation at its “Centre for Businesses” within the Madina market enclave.

Chief Executive of UMB, Nana Dwemoh Benneh, in his remarks noted “a number of significant economic reports argue that MSMEs account for over 70% of all economic activity in Ghana. As a Bank, we have been focused on Ghanaian MSMEs and their growth since 1972, and thus we share this passion for MSMEs with the CWEIC.”

MSMEs are key to economic growth in the CommonWealth - CWEIC CEO

“Indeed, we are proud to have been selected by the CWEIC to partner the University of Coventry programme to build capacity for African SME’s and look forward to rolling out the programme this year, especially to MSMEs with female leadership”, he added.

Ms. Glazebrook in her remarks said, “UMB is Ghana’s oldest Merchant Bank, and I dare say the CommonWealth is one of Ghana’s oldest international relationships. Central to our work at the CWEIC is the COMMONWEALTH ADVANTAGE- the fact that overall its 21% cheaper to do business across the CommonWealth. We are thus very passionate about bring this advantage to bear on businesses and I am excited that one of our key partners is doing this in lock-step with us here in Ghana.”

Ms Glazebrook and her party were escorted around the market by Nana Dwemoh Benneh and other officials of the bank. This was followed by a presentation by the Head of Strategy on UMB’s MSME programme and the intergation with CWEIC, Roland Akafia.

UMB is a leading indigenous bank reputed for bringing a uniquely Ghanaian perspective to banking, since 1972. Headquartered in Accra and licensed by the Bank of Ghana, the bank operates out of 35 branches across Ghana.

The CWEIC is a commercial, not-for-profit membership organisation with an official mandate from the Commonwealth Heads of Government to facilitate trade and investment throughout the 54 Commonwealth member nations. The role of CWEIC is to use the convening power and trusted network of the Commonwealth, which is led by Her Majesty The Queen, to drive trade and investment.



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