Business News of 2014-02-10

Terpker defends BoG’s directives

Government has called for public support in view of the introduction of new fiscal measures by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to stabilize the Cedi.
According to the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, who was speaking at a forum in Accra, the measures were not intended to impose any hardship on businesses operating in the country but rather to help government to manage the economic volatility as a result of the falling value of the cedi.
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) last week announced measures to shore up the cedi against the major foreign currencies.
As part of the measures, it has banned commercial banks and other financial houses from issuing cheques and cheque books on Foreign Exchange Accounts (FEA) and foreign currency accounts (FCA).
It said no bank should grant a foreign currency-denominated loan or foreign currency-linked facility to a customer, who is not a foreign exchange earner.
The Central Bank has also prohibited offshore foreign deals by resident companies, including exporters in the country.
It noted that all transactions in the country should be conducted in Ghana Cedis in compliance with the Bank of Ghana Notice dated October 10, 2012.
Again, over-the-counter cash withdrawals from foreign exchange and foreign currency accounts not exceeding US$10,000 shall only be permitted for travel purposes outside Ghana or its equivalent in convertible currency per person per travel.
Many businesses and institutions, including the Trade Union Congress (TUC), have however criticized the directives, claiming they would worsen the current economic conditions.
He gave the assurance that BoG would implement the measures in a manner that would discourage the activities of those engaged in illegal currency trading.