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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Why do Ghanaians still trade quoting new Cedis in old currency?

By Rockson Adofo

I can’t still get my head around this phenomenon of the majority of Ghanaians still quoting prices in old Ghana Cedis. It is almost ten years since the Ghana Old Cedis were redenominated into the current Ghana New Cedis. The old Cedis seemed to becoming worthless by a large quantity of it buying a few items.

Traders had to carry their money in large carrier bags as more notes of then old Cedis were exchanged for a few items. People could hardly carry money in their pockets, wallets and purses because there could be no space in them to even accommodate enough money to pay for any little thing that one wanted to purchase.

To reduce the quantity of the nearly worthless Cedis floating around that had to be carried in large quantities in bags before one could do any meaningful business or purchase anything important with it, the NPP government of former President Kufuor felt it necessary to take a bold economic initiative to redenominate the currency.

There were other economic advantages for redenominating the currency among which was the cost to the nation for printing that large quantity of the old Cedis or replacing the damaged notes from time to time. Once the quantity of the money, thus, the notes, was reduced because of the redenomination where many notes adding up to say, ten thousand Cedis (10,000 Cedis) were reduced to a single One Cedi note, the cost of printing or replacing damaged notes was drastically reduced.

After the redenomination where ten thousand Cedis (10,000 Cedis) became One New Cedi (GHC1.00), with the same purchasing power as the previous 10,000 Cedis, people could start carrying money in their pockets and wallets. Fewer number of New Cedi notes were buying same quantity of commodities that one previously had to carry larger quantities of old Cedi notes in bags to purchase.

The New Cedis no longer attract thieves as the old Cedis that were carried in bags used to.

For all the attendant economic and safety benefits that came with the redenomination of the Ghanaian Cedi currency, I can still not comprehend why most Ghanaians still quote the prices of their wares in old Cedi currency. It is much easier to pronounce and to quote prices in the new Cedi currency yet; most Ghanaians still quote prices in Old currency.

This confuses people especially, the “burgers” – Ghanaians living abroad when they go to Ghana on holiday.

At funerals, while some announcers mention traditional donations in New Cedis, others quote them in old Cedis hence the ensuing total confusion.

May I suggest to the Office of Civic Education and the Ministry of Education to start to, or intensify, their education of the Ghanaian pupils/students and the entire public on the Ghanaian Cedi currency? They should encourage them to quote prices in the new currency that has been in existence for almost ten years. They have to let mentioning or quoting prices in the old currency die away.

Is it ignorance or what that makes most Ghanaians still quote prices and fares in the old Cedi currency instead of the new? Is it not simpler to say ten Cedis (GHC10) than to say, hundred thousand Cedis (100,000 Cedis) when indeed, the money one is handling is a ten Cedi note by its face and actual value?

The public should please assist the Office of Civic Education and the Ministry of Education to overcome this particular annoying problem. We have to stop living in the yesteryears but the actual world and be at breast with time in a most sensible way.

The proud son of Kumawu/Asiampa, a big mind that sees problems at first sight and suggests brilliant solutions has spoken again.

I wish all Ghanaians a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.