Stable economy: Businesses, labour demand more

The government will have to convince Ghanaians on how it is working to restore economic stability and improve livelihoods.

This is because general reactions from key business associations on the Citi Breakfast Show pointed to virtual dissatisfaction.

The groups comprise importers, exporters and organized labour.

For the three groups, anything short of an improved standard of living yet at a lower cost, may not qualify as a satisfactory performance.

At least the cedi has depreciated against major trading currencies over the past couple of months.

This has prompted the Bank of Ghana to inject some dollars to address the situation albeit temporary.

Again, fuel prices have hit more than 5 cedis per litre with cost of production still on the rise.

In all these, salaries remain unadjusted to commensurate the increase in cost of living.

Veep touts economic performance

But speaking at this year’s Ghana Industrial Summit and Exhibition, Vice President Dr. Bawumia touted the government’s effort at reducing inflation, bringing down interest rates on the Treasury Bill markets, attaining a trade balance surplus, among others.

Importers, Exporters decry cedi depreciation

However, the Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) says the failure to tackle issues of high cost of production to aid exports, defeats the supposed benefits they ought to have derived from the weakened currency.

“The more we produce, the lower we reduce the cost of freight and others and remain competitive on the external market,” the Executive Director of FAGE, Anthony Sikpa said on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday, September 19, 2018.

He added, “We have signed all these bilateral relationships like the EPA, AGOA, continental free Trade Area etc. but we have not sat down to say this is how we are going to benefit from all these agreements. This is the kind of conversation that I’d like us to be having as a country going forward so that we will put down a process with clear timelines and with clear milestones that we will work towards.”

Also, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) whose members largely import most of their wares is not too enthused by the cedi’s perennial depreciation against the dollar in particular.

The PRO of GUTA, Joseph Paddy explains the need to pursue industrialization as a perpetual solution to the issue.

“If we don’t want to import, then the government should make a deliberate effort to make sure that the manufacturing sector is well built and perform well. I can assure you that even people in manufacturing are venturing into importation,” he argued.

Organised labour to demand more?

Another category which got its fair share of the Vice President’s defense is organized labour.

Dr. Bawumia said a slow down on demand for wage increases should sustain the gains so far achieved.

But the Director of Research at the TUC, Kwabena Otoo disagrees.

“We are only able to manage for a short term because the policy buffers are not strong enough to defend this economy against both internal and external headwings. Of course once you implement policies that toughens people’s lives, you expect such people to come back to you and demand something because those people have to be cushioned one way or the other,” he argued.

Source: Citi Business News

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