General News of Sunday, 16 September 2018
Private legal practitioner Kwame Jantuah has chastised Vice President Dr Mahamamudu Bawumia for constantly comparing the current performance of the cedi against the dollar under NDC administration.
He did not understand why the veep has been using the John Mahama led administration as a yardstick for the Akufo-Addo government which has come under criticism for how it is managing the economy.
Mr. Jantuah wants Dr. Bawumia and the government to channel its energy on finding solutions to the depreciating cedi.
The government has come under criticism over the depreciating cedi against the dollar, a situation that many have lamented, is affecting businesses in the country.
Prior to the 2016 elections, Dr. Bawumia was very critical of the Mahama administration and their failure to ensure that the cedi performs better against the dollar.
The Vice President attributed the depreciating cedi at the time to what he described as ‘weak fundamentals’ which he said was as a result of the National Democratic Congress’ incompetence.
It is on the back of this that many Ghanaians had hopes that as leader of the current government’s economic management team, Dr. Bawumia, will ensure that the cedi performs better than it did under the NDC administration.
Currently, the cedi stands above GH?4.9 per dollar as against GH?4.2 per dollar at the end of 2016.
Dr. Bawumia who had been silent on the matter for months, spoke Friday on the matter, and justified the current exchange rate as being the best since 2012.
But his assertion, did not go down well with Mr. Jantuah who advised Dr. Bawumia to and his team to move away from the comparisons, and work at getting the cedi perform better against the dollar.
“Stop campaigning; it is petty, tell us how you feel. Let us ban imports; we need to change the mind-set of Ghanaians,” he fumed on TV3 New Day Saturday .
Don’t politicise performance of the cedi
Chief Operations Officer of Dalex Finance, Joe Jackson who was also speaking on New Day, underscored the need for governments to move away from politicizing issues regarding the performance of the cedi.
“Let us stop playing politics with the value of the cedi, the value of the cedi is an economic tool, it is not a barometer of political success or opinions,” he said.
“Once we do that, we are taking away one of the most important tools in growing and developing the economy,” Mr. Jackson said.
He said the Ghana’s inability to produce more and export more, is the major cause of the depreciating cedi.
“The fundamentals are that, you do not produce enough in this country for exports; containers come in full of foodstuff and when they are going back, they go with air,” he held.
“Anytime we import, it is job we are creating for someone somewhere,” he added.
According to Mr Jackson, government has failed to create a competitive atmosphere to boost the economy.
“The slide in the cedi is not necessarily a bad thing, we are not competitive, we are not creating jobs, and part of the problem is that the cedi is overvalued.”
“A can of imported coke is cheaper than a bottle of sobolo; every time you pick up a can of coke and leave a bottle of sobolo there, you have taken away a job from someone,” he emphasized.
Former Member of Parliament for North Dayi George Loh also emphasized the need for various governments to accept that there is a problem, and focus on solving it, instead of playing blame games.
“We are living in denial; this is about good management and not comparison. Until we begin to tell ourselves that this is a Ghanaian problem, and find a Ghanaian solution to it, we are not going anywhere.”
He called on the NPP government to focus on supporting private companies to produce more and be able to export, instead of focusing on establishing new companies under its 1Dstrict, 1Factory programme.