General News of 2014-02-11

Mahama: We must unite in political or economic challenges

President John Dramani Mahama has called for unity in the fight against what he termed “political or economic challenges” facing the country.
In a post on his facebook wall on Monday, he said, “…in a democratic country such as ours, the government is the people's government. It is your government. And it does everything necessary to lead our country and to attain the development goals it has announced.”
“A nation has to be united when facing any kind of political or economic challenges,” he said.
Ghana’s currency, the cedi, at the beginning of 2014 has experienced a free fall reminiscent of the late 1990s when the prices of goods and services could change while bargaining was going on because of the uncertainties surrounding its value against foreign currencies.
It has already declined by more than four per cent against the major international currencies in January, 2014. In 2013, the local currency suffered 17 per cent depreciation.
Presently, the United States Dollar, which used to sell on the local foreign exchange market for Ghc2.20 before the 2013 Christmas, is now selling at Ghc2.60 while the British Pound, which used to be sold at about Ghc3, is now selling at Ghc4.20.
The same goes for the euro and CFA, with the euro now selling at Ghc3.50 while the CFA is going for Ghc4.80.
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has announced additional 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 and foreign currency accounts (FCA).
It has also directed that no bank should grant a foreign currency-denominated loan or foreign currency-linked facility to a customer who is not a foreign exchange earner.
This has culminated in a national debate and consequently called for a crunch cabinet meeting on Monday.
While some traders have complained that business was not good because customers could not afford items on the market, the central bank, Bank of Ghana promised to strengthen existing foreign exchange laws to help halt the free fall of the cedi.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has been reported as urging Ghanaians to stop criticising the government and effectively use their brainpower to assist the government to move the nation forward.
Apparently inspired by the former president’s comment, President Mahama wrote on his facebook wall, “…I thank and salute the wise Ghanaian politicians who understand that the right attitude in such times is to assist the government and stop predicting disasters.”
Meanwhile, the office of Former President Kufuor says he has been misrepresented in the media about his comments relating to the state of the Ghanaian economy.
The Daily Graphic Monday reported that the former president has asked Ghanaians to stop criticizing the government and rather assist in developing the country.
But in a rejoinder, the former president’s spokesperson, Frank Agyekum said that cannot be a true representation of what his boss said.
“When he was in government, he was criticized left right center and even now out of government, he is still being criticized by people who feel like criticizing him”.
“…So how can he say that nobody should criticize the government” Frank Agyekum said adding that, “he never said that the government should not be criticized”.
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