Business News of 2014-02-06

Importers irritated at BoG's new directive

Importers and Exporters in the country are incensed at the measures by the Central Bank to rescue the depreciating value of the local currency, the Ghana cedi. They said the directive is not only impracticable but also inhuman.

The Bank of Ghana on Wednesday announced additional measures to shore up the cedi against the major foreign currencies. The measures among others prohibit offshore foreign deals by resident companies, including exporters in the country.

"Cash withdrawals over the counter from FEA and FCA shall only be permitted for travel purposes outside Ghana and shall not exceed US$10,000.00 or its equivalent in convertible foreign currency, per person, per travel.

"Foreign exchange purchased for the settlement of import bills shall be credited to a margin account which shall be operated and managed by the bank on behalf of the importer for a period not exceeding 30 days," the Central Bank stated in a public notice.

Speaking Thursday on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, however, president of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Asarki Awingobit emphatically said: "It is not going to work; it's not just a workable solution...we are not going to take this kindly".

According to him, the directive will only benefit multinational companies operating in Ghana but not the local importers and exporters.

"Most of the Ghanaian importers do not shop from one such directives that they [Bank of Ghana] have given is going to help the giant companies...but not the Ghanaian importer who brings 40-footer containers with everything in it.

"It is the expatriates who are in this country...who repatriate all their profits but the Ghanaian [importer] brings the money back to their country and that are why we pay so much huge taxes".

Mr. Awingobit rather wants the BoG to create a special dispensation for local business people involved in import and export to enable them carry more than the $10,000 threshold.

"Someone who is bringing in a used machinery like car engine, fan belt and whatever; he has to go and buy from different shops and therefore if you are talking about bringing the bill for you [Bank of Ghana] to go and pay, you cannot pay," Mr. Asarki stated.

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