This Is Your Money

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 Source: Quaye, Stephen A.

By: Stephen A. Quaye.

On January 15, 2013, I nearly box a driver’s mate on one of the commercial buses operating in Accra for devaluing Ghanaian cedi note.

How? This driver’s mate tried to destroy a cedi note which was partly torn and has it little piece still hanging that a passenger was using to pay her fare.

Instead of the driver’s mate receiving the partly torn cedi note, give the said passenger change and either use the torn note to buy fuel for it to be given back to the bank, he decided to further destroy the partly torn note which made me furious and charged on him.

As I charged on the mate to accept the money as a power of transaction, he refused to accept it because it was partly torn forcing the passenger to take it back and give him a different note for him to present a change which spark of a scuffle on the bus.

Roaring on top of my voice I told the mate,” No way, you have to accept it or there would be no money for you again from her” which gain support from other passengers.

But “foolishly”, another elderly woman who was on the same bus decided to fight me for the mates unpatriotic course which set the platform for more heated argument.

The driver at a point in time experiencing a divided attention decided to shout on us to keep quiet which rather made every passenger to also shout back on him to rather concentrate on driving the bus to safety and not throw us into a ditch.

After the heat has gown down a little bit I stoke the fire by indicating to the driver’s mate it was totally wrong for him to devalue the cedi note as it was partly torn by ripping it apart. In any worse situation, he should accept it and return it to the bankers for an exchange as the law demands every individual to do because that was everyone’s money.

Sharing my experience, I told him how another driver’s mate in the past has given me partly torn cedi note as a change without being aware of it. Later, upon discovery I went straight to a teller at Commercial bank and presented it to them for an exchange of a new note which was the right thing to do as a patriotic citizen and not further destroying it to devalue the Ghanaian currency.

Even this move was several years after the late 1980’s public education launched by the central bank of Ghana in the media to show the people how to maintain the Ghanaian currency notes and the coins in good stead.

The central bank public education was sought for after a general observation of how many people especially market women and driver’s mates were mishandling the cedi notes to devalue the Ghanaian currency.

The public education taught me how to keep the cedi notes safely in a wallet and then in my pocket as an individual to maintain its power in business transaction. It also taught me how to report at any bank incase of discovering signs of it being devalued, present it for exchange as it is the sole authority of the bank to check its value, devalue and circulation.

Decades after this excellent public education, I went to several market places in Accra whiles on vacation in January to observe market women grabbing the cedi notes from a plastic container as if grabbing crabs in a basket or mashing kenkey in a bow.

So funny at one occasion I laugh hard with my wife standing by my side and not knowing what was happening quizzed,” what is funny”. It is so disheartening for one to drive through the city and observe how hundreds of people are mishandling the cedi notes that makes one to ask” is that the Ghanaian cedi notes?”

The transport unions are very smart in adjusting transport fares anytime fuel price hikes are announced by the government but failing to educate their drivers and their driver’s mates on the proper way of handling the cedi notes which is unfortunate.

Oh Yea, market women are the first to adjust their prices whenever fuel price hikes are announced or government present a new budget or civil servants stage a sit down strike demanding for salary increases, but they are the worse people who devalue the cedi as they mashed it like mashing kenkey.

Let the ministry of finance, through the central bank, commercial bank and information services department bring back the public education on how to maintain the cedi in good shape because people are deliberately or due to lack of knowledge are destroying our cedi notes making it not worth as a paper.

This is your money Ghanaians.

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Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.