The Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) on Wednesday tasked Government to take stringent measures to salvage the depreciation of the Ghana cedi against other major currencies in the country.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, Mr. George Ofori, President of GUTA, noted that if Government did not step up plans to salvage the currency, it would lead to the collapse of businesses, especially in the private sector, which had been considered as the engine of growth.
“We want the Government to take the necessary steps to arrest the alarming rate at which the Ghana cedi is depreciating against all the major currencies in order to save the nation from its repercussion on the growth and development of the private sector.”
Mr. Ofori said although the depreciation of the Ghana cedi was bringing hardship to consumers and affecting businesses, it was rather a windfall for the government when it comes to duties paid on imported products.
He said that currently, payment of import duties was affected by major currencies such as the dollar, euro and pounds sterling.
Mr. Ofori said GUTA observed that there was “something fundamentally wrong with the fiscal management of the economy“, and stressed that it behooves managers of the economy to quickly study and act promptly.
Enumerating problems of GUTA, Mr. Ofori said that planning for businesses had become extremely difficult and the phenomena was eroding the capital of those in the sector.
He said most of GUTA’s members had contracted loans from financial institutions and were paying high interest rates and credit facilities.
Mr. Ofori observed that the situation was seriously discouraging savings culture and affecting government’s own efforts at mopping up excess liquidity from the system, and was putting more burden on the manufacturing sector.
He said GUTA was ready to partner with think tanks to come up with solutions to save the depreciation of the cedi, to sustain the informal sector, which constituted about 70 per cent of businesses and save 70 per cent of government’s revenue.
Mr. Daniel Aggrey, Vice President of GUTA, said activities of foreigners in retail businesses as well as that of service providers, who were repatriating their profits to other countries, constituted a challenge to the depreciation of the cedi.
He tasked Government to ensure that service providers retained 20 to 30 per cent of their profit in the country, and move towards tackling perception on the over speculation of the depreciation of the cedi.
Other traders recounted that because of the influx of some foreign nationals in the retail business in the country, they were being denied business visas to some countries.
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