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General News of Saturday, 9 March 2019

Source: XYZ

Akufo-Addo’s Nima neighbours vow to vote him out in 2020

The Ghana Cedi has declined close to 13% against the US Dollar since December 2018, thereby making importers and exporters in the country uncomfortable especially as their capital keeps decreasing each day.

As government spokespersons engage in lip service, claiming the currency is doing well under the Akufo-Addo administration than it was before they assumed power in 2017, traders at various markets in the national capital keep swealtering over the development.

The latest to criticise the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the free fall of the cedi are traders at the Nima and Maamobi markets located at the backyard of President Akufo-Addo.

The women who trade in onions, rice, groundnts, maize, beans, cowpea, pepper, ginger and other commodities have threatened to campaign against the Akufo-Addo government in the 2020 general elections mainly because their businesses are collapsing under the government that touted their competence in managing and improving the fortunes of the currency while in opposition.

The then running mate for the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia who led his party to criticise against the Mahama administration stated the cedi would be stable under their watch but 26 months into power the cedi keeps losing its strength. Currently, the Cedi sells at about GHC5.56 to the U.S Dollar, resulting in the gradual rise of prices of food and commodities in the country.

It is for this reason the neighbours of the president are up in arms against Mr Akufo-Addo’s government.

Speaking to XYZ news when the National Women’s Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Hannah Bissiw visited the two markets, the traders disclosed they had been running at a loss since the cedi began declining.

Madam Amina, a rice retailer noted that her “sales have drastically gone down” following the depreciation of the currency.

“We don’t make sales as we used to do. Everyday when we import goods we have to top up before we could buy them, but when we pass on the difference onto the customers, they complain and move away. We are not happy with this government at all,” she lamented.

Another disgruntled trader told XYZ News: “the president is our neighbour who stays right here with us but he doesn’t care about us. He doesn’t care if our businesses go on well or not. All he cares about is his family. This is bad. See, the people don’t buy these days. They say money is not there. We the traders are also battling with how to raise extra money to add up to our capital and buy our goods.”

She continued: “we will vote against this government in 2020. We go show Nana in 2020 walahi.”

Another trader revealed she defected from the NPP because they kept disappointing her after she had led a group of women to campaign for candidate Akufo-Addo prior to the 2016 elections.

“I was a member of the NPP and all the women here know but today I won’t campaign for them because nothing seems to be better under this government. The people here kept reminding me about Akufo-Addo’s failed promises so I had to quit. 2020 we go show Nana. I will vote for John Mahama because he has proven he can deliver,” she added.

Others who spoke to our reporters bemoaned the filth that is engulfing the market and other parts of the township, stressing that the president had neglected his own people.

“We don’t like Nana. There is too much filth here and we can’t vote for such a government that doesn’t care about us again,” she added.

Spare Parts Dealers Angry

Meanwhile, group of Spare parts dealers who demonstrated against the luxury Vehicle Levy (LVL) introduced by the governmnent have also vowed to vote against president Akufo-Addo in the 2020 elections.

The National Concerned Spare Parts Dealers say they wil campaign against the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government ahead of the general elections, following the high import duties at the country’s ports.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the group, Mr Takyi Addo who made the revelation to Mugabe Maase on Inside Politics on Radio XYZ 93.1 on Thursday indicated that the import charges at the ports are higher than they can afford.

Mr Takyi Addo said they have tried to catch the government’s attention to the situation but they have not been heard, stressing that they can “no longer bear the heat” than to kick the government out of power.

“We are the same people who voted Against Mahama in 2016,” he told Mugabe in Akan and explained that the business community at Abbosey okai (a spare parts dealing hub) and other parts of the country where spare parts are sold are not happy with the “killer import duties”

“Because the government is not listening to us, we will have to vote against them. Look, when John Mahama was in power, we used to pay GHS 40,000 to clear a container of car batteries but today it has gone up that we can’t pay,” Mr Takyi Addo said worryingly.

GUTA

National Welfare Officer for the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ben Yeboah, who also raised concerns over the fall of the cedi told Piesie Okrah on XYZ Business News on Monday they (the businesses community) have been meeeting government officials in the Finance Ministry over the development and hope the cedi is “arrested as the government announced some months back.”

To him, if Government’s popular mantra–the One District, One Factory– is given the needed attention other than a mere rhetoric, exporting local products will stabilise the dollar.

“We have factories like Nestle that manufacture milk so we don’t import much milk into the country because of its availability and price. In that same way, when we produce more we won’t be importing much into the country. It’s not that we love boarding planes to go and import, it’s because what we consume more here are not produced locally,” Mr Yeboah explained as he urged government to turn Ghana’s economy into an export-driven one.

Head of Financial Markets at the Bank of Ghana, Stephen Opata, has blamed the depreciation of the cedi on external factors due to increases in the U.S interest rates which is causing investors to move their funds to invest abroad.

Meanwhile, Government is contemplating announcing a review in the presentation of a supplementary budget statement later this year to control the situation.