|Audio Attachment:Listen to Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia|
Running Mate to Nana Akufo-Addo for the December general elections, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has dismissed the various excuses being offered by government for the rapid depreciation of the cedi.
To the renowned economist, the cedi is falling in value to major currencies because of incompetent management of the economy by the government, which is eroding confidence in the local currency.
Government has at various stages blamed speculators, NPP traders and even the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure as responsible for the around 80% cedi depreciation to the dollar since 2009.
The latest explanation, given by Vice-President Kwesi Amissah Arthur, was that such rapid currency devaluations were "normal in election year" and that this year's had been exceptionally better. He said this two weeks ago just before he left his job as Governor of the Bank upon his nomination for the vice presidency.
But, speaking to the media in Kumasi, on Wednesday, Dr. Bawumia urged the government to stop playing games with the serious job of managing the economy.
He said, “the rapid depreciation of the cedi is clearly as a result of economic mismanagement and not elections. The available data shows that clearly."
The NPP Vice-Presidential Candidate and former Deputy Governor of the central bank continued, "In 2000, which was the last year of the previous NDC government, an election year, the cedi depreciated by about 50%. In 2004, under the NPP, which was also an election year, the cedi depreciated by only 2.2%. In 2008, with record high crude oil prices and the economy under severe pressure from external economic forces, the currency fell by 20%."
He went on to show that even with the Ghanaian oil economy of today not facing anything near the crisis encountered in 2008, the cedi is dropping faster, with the year not even over.
"So clearly it can’t be due to elections but obviously if you mismanage an economy in an election year then you would have what we are seeing today”, he stressed.
Dr. Bawumia disclosed to the media that he felt obliged to make a statement and set the records straight because on his travels, he had realized that the continuing depreciation of the cedi, which had reached an 18-year low and has been the worst performing currency in Africa this year,, had become a matter of grave concern for the people, especially traders, service providers and industrialists.
He said he chose to make the statement in Kumasi since it was a huge commercial centre not only in Ghana but in the region and because like elsewhere, the business community in the Garden City was suffering adversely from the rapid fall of the cedi.
He said the sorry state of the cedi was worsening the already bad jobs situation, since not even the street hawker has been spared.
The NPP Vice Presidential Candidate said that as a Ghanaian, he felt very sad seeing the spectacle of a rapidly depreciating cedi without any credible attempt to break the trend. He pledged that the NPP would bring back confidence in the economy and stabilize the cedi.
He said the NPP had done it before and will do it again, to remove the needless pressure and hardship that the falling currency has visited on businesses.
Source: Communications Directorate, NPP/ Ghana
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