General News of Sunday, 9 February 2014
Editor in Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper says the country has been thrown into a state of "complete despondency" and government must be held completely responsible.
Speaking on MultiTV and Joy FM's news analysis programme Newsfile, Saturday, Kweku Baako Jnr said "times are rough; times are hard; times are tough," adding it is unfortunate that it is the citizenry that has to suffer for the gross incompetence by the managers of the economy.
He was contributing to attempts by government to arrest the continued depreciation of the cedi and a seeming plummeting economy.
The Bank of Ghana this week introduced new measures to fight what is deemed to be the dollarization of the country's economy that has left the cedi bruised.
With the new measures, "Cash withdrawals over the counter from FEA [Foreign Exchange Accounts] and FCA [Foreign Currency Accounts] shall only be permitted for travel purposes outside Ghana and shall not exceed US$10,000.00 or its equivalent in convertible foreign currency, per person, per travel.
"Foreign exchange purchased for the settlement of import bills shall be credited to a margin account which shall be operated and managed by the bank on behalf of the importer for a period not exceeding 30 days."
While government officials are growing in confidence and expecting a turnaround in the country's economy following the introduction of the measures, businessmen, trade union officials, students are wailing over the new measures.
Kweku Baako Jnr agrees largely with the views shared by the critics.
He said government appears to be reintroducing a control and command economy and that is destined to fail.
He said with this attempt to control people’s currency decisions, all that the government is doing, albeit indirectly is to push people into the black market.
“Money is a coward; if you do things that frighten money, it will run away,” he said
In a reaction, the Information Minister Mahama Ayariga said the problem with the country’s economy has less to do with incompetence of the managers.
He said in the current economic dispensation where the production of cocoa had tumbled, cocoa and gold receipts have all tumbled, some of these challenges were to be expected.
He said these global forces have all negatively affected the economy.
These challenges notwithstanding, the minister said nobody can deny the fact that the economy is growing consistently between 7-8 per cent.
Ayariga said the country’s statistics also reveal that poverty had reduced to half with a sure improvement in education, literacy levels, access to mobile telephony.
He said the current economic challenges will soon be a thing of the past.