Feature Article of Sunday, 19 August 2012

Columnist: Gumah, Bernard

The 1p Coin

The redenomination of the cedi in 2007 though significant, has undoubtedly increased the cost of living in Ghana. Citizens especially traders have refused to recognize the one pesewa (1p) as legal tender while those who are forced to take it as change end up “chucking it” in the bin because no one will accept it for any purchase apart from the place where they were issued. I will complement operators of the Accra Mall for being one of the places where the one pesewa coin is issued and received.

Last year I noticed that, in my electricity bill there were a few pesewas I was to receive as change which were never issued. On my next visit to the ECG tellers I asked for 6 pesewas change but surprisingly I was told to bring an amount that could run the figure to 50p before I could get the change and the cashier will not also account for the unpaid amount to ECG. I reported this to the supervisor in charge who recognized the flaw but ignorantly mentioned that they (ECG) did not know where to get those one pesewa coins. I was at UBA bank to pay a bill and I had to leave 2p with the teller because she told me they do not have any of the 1p coins. This goes to indicate that even though 1p has been introduced, we are charged for it yet the consumer ends up paying more because there will not be change to issue. I presume that sachet water has become 10p because if it was increased by 2p the public will not find 2p to add to the 5p that sachet water was sold for, while I doubt if sellers will have accepted any 1p coins. Due to this behavior there is a lot of cedis lost by consumers yearly which can not be accounted for.

The Traders Associations and GPRTU should educate their members on the 1p coin while the police takes drastic action against anyone who refuses to receive the coin for any transaction The Information Service Department also has the responsibility of educating the public on the 1p coin to support the work of the media among others. Lastly, The Bank of Ghana should make the coin adequately available and encourage utility companies and shops to issue it to the public so that it will be used, thereby making it valuable.

Bernard Gumah