General News of Wednesday, 12 February 2014
The MP for Abetifi constituency, Peter Wiafe Pepera, has warned the Bank of Ghana to reverse aspects of its measures to stabilize the cedi or face legal action.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Minority in Parliament has termed as draconian, measures to arrest the depreciation of the local currency, cedi.
Mr Pepera, who is a member of Parliament’s Trade and Industry Committee, said he will bring a class action on behalf of a group of investors, bankers and small scale traders if the measures remain unchanged.
“The constitution says that no law shall be made which takes retroactive effect and therefore I call on the Bank of Ghana to reverse its position on some of the rather draconian measures it announced last week,” Mr Wiafe Pepera told Joy FM's Top Story on Tuesday.
In a four page statement in Parliament outlining his plan to formally challenge the Bank of Ghana in court, the MP claimed the measures instituted by the Central Bank rather “worsened the situation”.
He said most of the measures by the bank have been tried previously, but have failed to yield any positive result.
The legislator strongly contested the measures which prohibit the issuing of cheques or cheque books in Foreign Currency Accounts (FCA) as well as the prohibiting withdrawals of more than 10,000 dollars over the counter.
“With these BoG measures, it is only the very foolish who would put forex into a bank! They would rather risk armed robbery!”
“Millions of dollars have been lured into the country into FC Accounts with the express guarantee that those funds, which can only be sourced from abroad, could be repatriated without any documentation whatsoever! The measures introduced last week basically said that, to quote Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3, ‘I lied’.”
The only aspect of the measures Mr Pepera deems commendable is the injection of 20 million dollars into the system, but argues the amount is woefully inadequate. He believed over 30 million dollars would have helped stabilise things.
According to him, the solution to Ghana’s current “economic woes lie not in the bible or mysticism, but in the hearts, minds and efforts of the good people of Ghana”.
He suggested, “If the government is at its wits end as to the solutions to Ghana’s problems, then it should immediately hand over to a Government of National Unity comprising NPP, NDC, CPP, PNC, PPP and GCPP to agree on a 7-year development plan and start implementing until elections in 2020.”
Senior lecturer in Banking Law, Moses Foh-Amoaning, is not convinced a legal suit in the nature of the one being contemplated by the MP will succeed.
He told Joy FM’s Top Story contesting the retroactive effect of the Bank of Ghana’s directives may be a daunting task.
He argued that the same Constitution of Ghana the MP is relying on has clothed the Bank of Ghana with the power to regulate and maintain the stability of the cedi.
“So any measure that will ensure that the currency of Ghana is also stable is allowed.”
He rather advised Mr Pepera to challenge the fairness and candidness of the measures to promote the economic growth of the country.