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Business News of Saturday, 18 August 2012

Source: Daily Guide

BoG To Close In On Hotels

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has decided to compel operators in the hospitality industry to transact business using the Ghana Cedi.

Major players in the industry, particularly hotels have been charging dollars over the years which has culminated in what is commonly described as ‘dollarization’ of the economy.

The BoG said it has resolved to turn its radar on them to specifically address the dollarization of the economy.

The Acting Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Kofi Wampah, speaking to CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE in an interview Wednesday in Accra, said the central bank will begin to deal with the situation soon, preferably after policies it instituted to fight dollarisation generally begins to yield some results.

Almost all major hotels in the major cities in Ghana have found solace in charging their bills in dollars other than the local currency. And this has in part heightened the demand for the dollar.

As a result of the BoG’s directive to commercial banks to keep 9 percent of its reserves with it, the banks have begun to charge customers who have dollar accounts with them on a monthly basis.

Though the customers are complaining, some bank officials interviewed by this paper have said there is nothing they can do about the situation since they also go to buy dollars from the central bank at specified rates.

Dr Wampah further said BoG will deal with the problems in the country’s financial sector one after the other to arrest the appreciation of the cedi to the dollar.

“BoG cannot lump all directives from its policies together since that will mess up the system.”

The cedi has been under strain since the beginning of the year as mining and other large establishments in the country that import raw materials, have raised the demand for dollar.

Prior to becoming Vice President of Ghana, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur told the Appointments Committee of Parliament that everybody is pricing in dollars, adding that banks had found that there was a large share of total deposits in dollars.

“We have not asked the banks to impose on anybody for holding account in dollars.”

“They are saying that by doing this we have imposed certain costs on them and they are asking people who want to take dollars over the counter to contribute a little more to defray the additional costs that the banks have.”

“We have disagreed with the banks when they have tried to impose a charge on the dollar deposit. If people want to come and take dollars over the counter and they have to pay a bit more, that is their problem.”

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