GUTA to close shops in protest of cedi depreciation

Source The Ghana Report

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has announced that it will close all shops belonging to its members in Accra on Monday, 29 August 2022, to protest the rapid depreciation of the Ghana cedi.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, GUTA said the weakened cedi is ravaging their business.

The President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, cited VAT Standard, the huge influx of foreigners in the retail business, and the activities of the black market as contributing factors to the woes of Ghanaian traders.

“The Monetary Policy Rate is 22%, meaning that Commercial Lending Rate is over 35%, VAT Standard Rate of 19.25% instead of flat rate of 4%. The huge influx of foreigners in the retail business against our investment loss. Do not review any system to increase duties on importing Second-hand clothing. Listen to the concerns of car dealers. Withdraw compulsory maritime insurance policy. We don’t think you should blame us for the high prices of goods in the market. The activities of the black market are also a matter of concern.”

He then called on the government to immediately address their concerns to alleviate the economic hardship in the country.

“These have gotten out of hand and need immediate solutions before things get out of hand. We have decided to close all shops from Monday to officially register our displeasure to the government,” he stated.

The cedi is currently trading at GH¢ 10 to a dollar, while inflation is around 32%  which has skyrocketed the cost of living for the populace.

Meanwhile, the Vice President, Mahamadu Bawumia, blames the economic crisis on what he describes as the ‘quadruple whammy’ which have necessitated Ghana’s return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to him, the quadruple challenges are the novel Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia- Ukraine crisis, the banking sector clean-up, and the excess capacity payment, which he blames on the erstwhile Mahama administration.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has stepped up efforts to control the cedi.

The latest of several interventions was a strong warning to forex bureaus operating in the country that any breach of the regulations under which they work will result in their closure or severe sanctions against them.

The move is to stop all deliberate market practices fuelling the cedi’s fast depreciation. Bloomberg reported last week that the local currency is the second-worst performing after Sri Lanka’s rupee, as it has lost 35 per cent of its value since the beginning of the year.

The BoG’s warning comes as a result of information gathered by the Bank that some licenced forex bureaus in the country are flouting the rules and regulations governing their activities, with some selling or buying forex from clients without issuing receipts or taking ID cards – things that are mandatory for them to do in any transactions they perform.


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