General News of 2014-08-31

Let's depoliticise ‘wobbling’ Cedi – Otumfuo

Asante Monarch Otumfuo Osei Tutu II says politicising Ghana’s “wobbling” currency portends ill consequences for the economy.

“Because the Cedi is so crucial to the stability of the national economy, it is imperative, in my view that we remove it from the realm of partisan politics and place it as an issue of high national interest”, he advised when he delivered the keynote address as the Guest of honour at the 19th Ghana Journalists Award ceremony Saturday night.

While Government insists the Cedi has fallen by about 23 percent against the Dollar and other major currencies of international trade, since the beginning of the year, the main opposition New Patriotic Party insists the fall is close to 40 percent. International media houses including Reuters and The Financial Times have also been quoting 40 percent as the current rate of depreciation.

The governing National Democratic Congress and the NPP have been fighting over the figures in the media. A Senior Economic Advisor to President John Mahama, Dr Nii Moi Thompson, recently engaged the NPP’s two-time Vice Presidential Candidate and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in one of such media haggles.

Otumfuo told his audience at the award ceremony that the consequences of the currency’s fall “should require us, to strive to insulate the Cedi from political and other pressures likely to undermine confidence and reinforce the institutional framework for defending and protecting it in the market place”.

“In seeking to define issues of national interest relative to national development, the national currency will have to be of high priority”, he advised.

“We could not have forgotten so soon, the period in our history when a devaluation of the Cedi was an instant signal for a military take-over of government. Thankfully, we have buried the past, and over the past decade or thereabouts, we have had the happy experience of a stable Cedi underpinning the remarkable growth of our economy. Sadly, the wheels have turned once again, with the economy in decline and the Cedi wobbling”, the Monarch bemoaned.

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