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Cedi’s fortunes tied to choices of Ghanaians — Alhassan Andani

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
 Mr Alhassan Andani (2nd right), MD, Stanbic Bank exchanging pleasantries with Dr Ernest Addison (right), Governor of BoG. Looking on are Mr Ato Afful (left), MD of GCGL and Prof. Peter Quartey of ISSER. Picture: EBOW HANSON
Mr Alhassan Andani (2nd right), MD, Stanbic Bank exchanging pleasantries with Dr Ernest Addison (right), Governor of BoG. Looking on are Mr Ato Afful (left), MD of GCGL and Prof. Peter Quartey of ISSER. Picture: EBOW HANSON

The Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited, Mr Alhassan Andani, says the country has reached a crossroads where it has to choose between imports and exports in its attempts to find lasting solutions to the perennial depreciation of the cedi against its major trading partners.

Should Ghanaians continue to patronise imported products, Mr Andani said Ghana would have taken an easier path which “leads nowhere”.

He admitted that the best choice — the path of exports — was a difficult one that required continuous investment into productive sectors to help grow domestic firms and spur production of goods that were globally competitive and could be sold to the rest of the world.

In his opening remarks at the GRAPHIC BUSINESS/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra yesterday, the Stanbic Bank MD said the current state of the cedi was a result of the collective actions and inactions of all Ghanaians.

The meeting was the first in the series in 2019 and aimed at stimulating frank discussion on the challenges facing the cedi with the view to finding sustainable solutions to the perennial depreciation.

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It was on the theme: “Achieving Sustainable Exchange Rate Stability: Our Options”.

Tough choices

“My take on this is that it is about the choices we make as a country; the choices we make between imports and exports.

“Choices about imports are about consumption and literally anybody can consume and so they are easy to make.

“The choices about producing goods and services that are of competitive standards, both in your country and in other countries, are tough ones to make.

“Are we as Ghanaians choosing the easy path, which leads us nowhere or the difficult path that will lead us somewhere?” he quizzed at the meeting which had the Bank of Ghana Governor, Dr Ernest Addison, as the keynote speaker.

Defending the cedi

Mr Andani said the current state of the cedi was not the creation of any foreign power but the creation of Ghanaians.

As a creation of the country, Mr Andani said, “we must defend the cedi. We should not talk it down”.

“We should work up the cedi and avoid comments that erode confidence in the currency, leading to increased depreciation,” he said.

Rather, he said Ghanaians should be interested in how they could collectively support the cedi to strengthen it against its major trading partners and called for a dispassionate discussion on the challenges facing the exchange rate.

Driving growth

Mr Andani said Stanbic Bank recognised Africa as home and so was concerned about driving her growth.

He said Ghana was one of the significant economies in which the bank operated, “therefore in the spirit of driving the growth off Ghana and Africa, the subject of export rate is important and must be given honest discussion”.

“It is time for hard work. We expect all of you to give of your best so that we can get solutions to this protracted problem of the depreciation of the cedi,” he added.

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr Ato Afful, corroborated the need for honest discussions on how to find sustainable solutions to the perennial depreciation of the cedi.

He said such discussions were needed to ensure that the right solutions were adopted to tackle the challenges that the local currency suffered.

“As a company that specialises in publishing credible information on the economy and the country at large, the Graphic Communications Group is concerned about the health of the currency.

Hence the decision to dedicate this quarter's edition of the breakfast meeting series to exploring sustainable solutions to the cedi depreciation,” he stated.