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Opinions of Thursday, 28 February 2019

Columnist: Henry Agyei Asare

Bank of Ghana causing high dollar rate

Henry Agyei Asare Henry Agyei Asare

I am one who have been satisfied with the sanitisation of the financial sector.

I believe the regulator should always protect the interest of the citizen in doing business with institutions under its regulation. So on a number of occasions I have defended the BoG's decision to sanitise the system.

In the last few months, exchange rates, especially the dollar has been on a free upward rate movement.

In just about a month, the dollar has appreciated against the cedi by about 10%. The talking point has been on for a while and many have wondered what the BoG has been doing to curtail this situation that is becoming an embarrassing situation for the economic managers.

I found out that the BoG is actually has indirectly sanction the situation we find ourselves.

Yesterday I was at the KLM office at airport to make some payment. To my outmost shock, the taller rejected the money which was in One hundred dollar (US$100) bills with the excuse that they were old bills.

For goodness sake, we don't buy kenkey or fufu with dollar in this country. The teller revealed another shocker that the BoG has asked them to stop accepting the old one hundred dollar bills especially those that are more than ten years old. I told her this money was in use in the United States and her responds was simple, "Yes I know but the Bank of Ghana says we should not take them, it's an instruction from the Bank of Ghana. If I take it, it will be at my own risk".

This obviously was surprising to me so I went on to call a contact I know at the BoG. After speaking to her, I was convinced the shortage of especially the dollar in the country could be a deliberate attempt supported by the Bank of Ghana.

Her responds were "We don't make the dollar in Ghana, so what if one day we wake up and the United States decided they were not going to use the old bill again? will that not be our cost?" I have never been shocked.

I am told this same reasons are giving by forex bureaus and almost all banks. They refuse the old dollar bill which is still in use in the home country of this currencies. They also refuse taking the smaller bills such as the One dollar bills (US$1) which is also in use by the home country of the currency. I am also told some also refuse some bills of the British pound.

I am calling on the government to address this unnecessary blunder; especially the Vic President, H.E. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. I am calling on the Governor to instruct this artificial shortage to stop because it is creating many more damage to our economy.

Unless the home country of a currency has stopped using it or it is no more a legal tender, then this is illegal for a country to reject its usage. in any case, like I said earlier, we don't buy food with this currency. It is sent back to its original country so why reject it when the home country uses it?

The BoG should come out and address this unfortunate situation before it gets out of hand.