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Sg Hemer To Appoint Anthony Yeboah As Asistant Coach

wpid-ghanaflag.jpgThe country has begun this year on a rather uncertain note, with its currency in a free fall.

The problem of the cedi cannot be looked at in isolation, as it can be said without any contradiction that our economy still relies on the benevolence of Western donors to balance our budget.

Perhaps the government, in trying to deal with the budget deficit, imposed all kinds of taxes and levies to raise enough resources to tackle the infrastructure deficit and contain recurrent expenditure such as wages and salaries.

When the government decided to adjust the VAT rate to raise money to develop the infrastructure base of the country, a section of the populace raised concerns.

The people have been going through some hard times following the imposition of road tolls, increased rates and levies charged by government institutions, the fortnightly review of the prices of petroleum products and the upward adjustment in utility tariffs.

Basic economic theory posits that the high cost of doing business does not hurt business more than it does consumers, as the cost will be passed on to the people.

That is exactly the situation in the country now, with the adjustment in the prices of every conceivable commodity or service, thereby making living conditions very uncomfortable for majority of our people.

The story of the cedi from the last quarter of 2013 and the first two months of 2014 is not quite good news. It tumbled by 17 per cent last year and just less than two months into 2014 it has fallen by almost five per cent against the major currencies.

We know that the lack of productive activities in the country may be driving the cedi down, as every item that is sold on the market is imported.

Productive activities have virtually come to a halt because ?buy and sell? has become less risky than manufacturing, as the banks are unwilling to extend credit to those involved in long-term investments.

When things are in a state of flux as the cedi is experiencing, it is reasonable for the regulatory body, in this case the Bank of Ghana, to apply the brakes and stop those who are exploiting the loopholes for personal gain.

It must strictly enforce the regulations, monitor the operators and, if need be, prosecute offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.

Already, the players in the sector are raising eyebrows as they consider the actions knee jerk and likely to promote a vibrant and underground forex market that will speed up the process of the fall of the cedi.

They may be right, but there must be order.

The Daily Graphic, therefore, appeals to the government to take a very bold step by halting the importation of certain items that we can produce locally as a first step to save the cedi and, by extension, the economy.

There is a cost to be paid for protectionism but it will be a worthwhile prize to pay for the good of the economy.

Even as we confront the bleak situation, the Daily Graphic is encouraged by the show of optimism being demonstrated by President John Mahama.

He told envoys accredited to the country at the countryside resort of Peduase Lodge last Wednesday that Ghana looked forward to an exciting 2014 in which the pace of economic development and prosperity would be quickened, in spite of the economic challenges.

It is good for leaders to always give hope to their people, even in the face of daunting challenges.

However, the future of Ghana as the beacon of hope and gateway to the sub-region lies in our ability to produce what we need, instead of being the retail shops for every merchandise, including toothpick, from the so-called industrialised world.

Daily Graphic Friday, 07 February 2014

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