In an effort to halt speculation and stabilise the foreign exchange market, the Bank of Ghana will hold a series of discussions with the leadership of universal banks and forex bureau operators, starting today.
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who made this known at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, said it was envisaged that the crucial meeting would ultimately ensure that measures were put in place to streamline, sanitise and provide clarity on the supply chain of the foreign exchange market.
That, he noted, would ensure that traders who needed foreign currencies for legitimate transactions would have access to them at official rates.
The Information Minister said the engagements would also help provide knowledge to traders and other entities as to where to look for foreign exchange in order to prevent them from dealing with black marketers who bought the currencies, hoarded them and sold them above the prevailing rates.
The briefing was to update the media on the steps the government was taking to address the economic challenges, key among them being how to stabilise prices in the foreign exchange market.
This is the latest briefing Mr Nkrumah is providing on the economy since January.
“We will also be looking at some of the longer lasting measures to ensure that the forex trade is stabilised in this country even as we expect a lot more of forex inflow following the completion of the syndication of the Ghana Cocoa Board transaction,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah noted.
He further explained that the discussions would help outline “the flows and the rates at which those flows are available and to give them the necessary space within which those who legitimately need them can access them".
The Information Minister indicated that: “I am not privy to any extraordinary measures, but by the time they are done with their meeting, we will all get details of it".
On the recent protests by members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) against the increases in the exchange rate and the rising cost of doing business, Mr Oppong Nkrumah stated that later this week some announcements would be made regarding official rates to be used in import duties.
“This is good news for them and I have the understanding that the Economic Management Team (EMT) will get a briefing on it later when they meet and, subsequently, some announcements will be made on that,” the minister stated.
The Ghana cedi, which was valued at an average of GH¢5.83 in August last year on the inter-bank market, started inching to GH¢5.86 to the dollar in September; GH¢5.88 to the dollar in October, GH¢5.91 to the dollar in November last year, before closing the year at GH¢5.95 per dollar in December last year.
The cedi continued its depreciation, opening this year at GH¢6.01 a dollar in January; trading at GH¢6.31 to the dollar in February before rising again to GH¢7.05 a dollar in March this year.
In the second quarter of this year, the cedi traded at GH¢7.11 to the dollar in April, GH¢7.13 to the dollar in May and GH¢7.19 to a dollar in June.
According to the Bank of Ghana, the interbank exchange rate for the dollar averaged GH¢7.39; GH¢8.06 and GH¢8.75 to the dollar between July and September this year.
However, the dollar trades at higher exchange values of more than GH¢12 to the dollar, more than what pertains in the interbank exchange market.
He revealed that last Sunday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo held a meeting with market women in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, as the women expressed their fears about how the country's inflationary pressures were affecting their businesses.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the President explained to the women the dynamics of the global economic situation and how the government was navigating the country out of the situation and the containment measures introduced from April till date.
The Information Minister observed that the President would have briefings to help equip him with adequate information to be able to outline some specific measures that had been added to the ongoing containment measures.
Mr Nkrumah further announced that the EMT met yesterday to apprise itself of the latest economic figures and recommendations as the country entered the last quarter of the year.
Furthermore, the Information Minister said, the President was expected to chair a three-day Cabinet meeting starting from Thursday, October 27 to Saturday, October 29, this year.
The meeting is expected to look at the negotiations so far between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and updates from the EMT.
“The exercise will enable the President and his Cabinet to take some important decisions and ensure that he subsequently updates the nation on the way forward,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah stated.