GUTA president happy with pegging of dollar rate at ports but says it is not a panacea

The President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr. Joseph Obeng has confirmed that government has decided to peg the dollar rate at the ports for the purposes of duty payments for a tentative period of 3 months. However, the said rate the dollar will be pegged at, was not disclosed.

Touching on the new development on Eye on Port, the GUTA president revealed that this intervention was reached when his outfit and other stakeholders met with government on the current economic crisis in the country characterized by high inflation, the cedi depreciation and high-interest rates.

Dr. Obeng said this intervention will bring some relief but will not serve as a panacea to the current national economic situation.

The GUTA President said it is important for government to acknowledge that while they have decided to make some minor adjustments, the crux of issue, remains. What the trading public clamors for, essentially, has not been addressed.

“Yes, they have made some concessions in other areas like the VAT, and pegging the dollar for the purpose of payment of duties, and the invigilation by the tax officials- that is a different thing altogether. What we are talking about is the fact that our capital is being eroded by the effects of the foreign exchange, inflation, and the interest rate.”

As a result, Dr. Obeng proffered some short to long-term solutions which will significantly alleviate the economic hardship and more importantly, augment the strength of the cedi.

The GUTA President called for investment laws have to be amended with the agenda to discourage excessive importation and the repatriation of revenues overseas by foreign firms operating in Ghana.

“We have admitted to contributing to excessive importation but our share of the total import volumes, as locals is about 15-20%. It is easy for government to use the investment laws to redirect and control the investors coming in. Also let every foreign entity coming to trade to not engage in what we call goods for forex. This is because as it stands they do not keep money here. As soon as they get the GIPC certificate, they come and dump the goods here and take back forex,” Dr. Obeng lamented.

In the short term, the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association said government after securing some funds to check the cedi volatility, should be able to appeal to the conscience of the public not to run the dollar back into scarcity.

He explained that the GUTA-led 2 to 3-day closure of shops was necessary to get the urgent attention of government as well as provoke national discourse.

He said the industrial action embarked on by members of his outfit also afforded them the opportunity to engage with their suppliers overseas on the current economic crisis in Ghana, and its attendant effects on international trade.

Source: Eye on Ports

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