Minister designate for Agriculture, Fifi Fiave Kwetey has branded the Ghana cedis 27% depreciation since 2014 as a blessing in disguise.
In an interview with Peace FM, the Member of Parliament for Ketu South believes “…the depreciation of the currency should actually be a blessing for countries that are looking at exporting but the reason why we are complaining and suffering is because our country is filled with imports.”
The record fall of the cedi against major trading currencies has hit businesses hard. Many import-driven businesses now need more cedis for the same amount of dollars.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) last week closed shops in Accra and Kumasi to among other things, dramatize their displeasure over government’s measures to tackle the cedi.
The consensus about the cause of the cedi’s decline is that Ghana depends too much on imports.
Foreign exchange outflows by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) were higher than receipts (inflows) for the first half of 2013.
Ghana currently spends about US$600m annually to import rice. The West African country spends an additional US$400m annually to import sugar, tomatoes, vegetable cooking oil, frozen fish, poultry and wheat.
According to the Member of Parliament, the current cedi crisis is an opportunity especially for the youth to go into exports.
“…we need to have, especially our young people, looking at what has happened to our currency and ask question as to what we can do in order to go into export. When we talk about export, we are not just talking about exporting to Europe and America or to China but to our West-African neighbors and Africa as a whole,” he said.
The advice to drive Ghana’s economy through exports is not new. Financial Consultant and a Lecturer at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Mr. Kwabena Ntiamoah, a one-time economic advisor in the Kufuor administration, Kwamena Essilfie Adjaye and the World Bank have all called for an aggressive export strategy.