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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Columnist: Atitsogbui, Paul Parker

Blame ‘Kuffour Dollar’ For Economic Hardship

The common language on the lip of Ghanaians across the country today is the
escalating prices of goods and services. Ghanaians are having sleepless night
trying to figure out what exactly may be the cause. While, some are blaming the
government for poor economic policies, others are blaming some greedy traders
who want to either make abnormal profit overnight or want to discredit the
government.

Of course, the economic indicators which play vital roll in determination of
prices do not warrant any increase in prices. The foreign exchange market is
stable, inflation is at its best and the PPI is falling, yet the prices are
increasing, WHY? Hence the need for this write-up.
The redenomination which shred away four zero’s did not take into consideration
the prices which falls within three, two and one zero and the smaller
denominations.

The net effect is all those prices which fall within these ranges must be pushed
up to the nearest available denomination in other to facilitate selling and
payment balance.
Countries like Argentina, Korea among others which redenominated their currencies experienced similar problems which we could have learnt from, yet Ghana neglected those setbacks and here we are today. Opportunistic pricing has become the price we paying for a negligence work done.
Casting my mind back prior to the redenomination, pure water was sold at 3000
cedis after the denomination it moved to 5p which is equivalent to 5000 old
cedis. Tro-tro fare which affects large number of low and middle income earners
were not left out. Tro-tro fare from Lagos town to Accra was 3,200 old cedis
after the redenomination it moved 35 pesewa new cedis. Pen, cigarettes, tort of
local gin popularly known as "Akpeteshie", pepper, toilet fees among others
which are patronized by the poor who form the majority of the population became
the victims.

As we speak the production cost of pure water has gone up between 20 -30%,
ironically, the producers cannot pass on this increment to the consumers, and
any attempt to push it to the latter will see it going up to 100%. And it’s no
surprise that the pure water sellers have unsuccessfully attempted to sell at
10p Ghana cedis on two occasions.
I am not in anyway suggesting that the redenomination was not good, but critical
thinking and thorough consultation would have spared us of this hardship.

Strangely, the government and for that matter the reckless party who negligently
implemented this policy is today raising the red flag on the consequences of
the poorly executed policies. Blaming the present government, knowing very well
that they are the cause of the out-of-control rising general prices of goods and
services.

In conclusion, I will call on the government to correct these anomalies since
the power of this country has been vested in their care. They have the power to
turn a man into a woman so as they can change the trend of the economic
hardship.
Once again ‘I say Uncle Atta ye bre’
Long live Mr. President, Long live Ghana

Mr. Paul Parker Atitsogbui
hildamamaa@yahoo.co.uk
Flampton Park
London