Heeding TUC’s call

Taming the strong Ghanaian appetite for foreign goods has always been a serious source of concern for policymakers who have tried without success. 


Unfortunately, the lack of political will by successive governments to reverse this trend, coupled with the fact that naturally every Ghanaian has also played a part in turning the economy into an import-led one.

As if by design, the natural inclination for a Ghanaian shopper or buyer when making a purchasing decision is to prefer the foreign product to the local one. And this has come at a great cost to the economy in many respects.

The Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, at the May Day celebration, added his voice to calls for the patronage of locally produced goods when he urged Ghanaians to reduce the over-reliance on imports, arguing that it was a major step towards stabilising the cedi against the country’s major foreign trading currencies.

He explained that the depreciation of the cedi at this monumental scale of about 250 per cent from 2016 to date represented a huge decline in the living standards of the Ghanaian worker and cited the over-reliance on imported goods whose prices were directly impacted by the exchange rate.

To drum home the issue, the TUC boss referenced the current exchange rate which stands at GH¢14 to $1, compared to about GH¢4 to $1 in 2016, and noted that workers who earned a monthly salary of GH¢1,000 in 2016, which was equivalent to $250 at the time, could now exchange the same GH¢1,000 for only $71.

That, coupled with the inflation rate of 25 per cent and over 30 per cent of interest rate on loans, has made the high cost of living unbearable for the ordinary Ghanaian and compounded the problem of the Ghanaian worker’s ability to meet basic necessities such us food, school fees and rent advance.

The Daily Graphic is not surprised at the call, which has come at an opportune time when the currency situation, coupled with inflation, is of great concern to everyone. At a time when the country is yearning to scale up its industrialisation drive, there is no time to waste on the call to redirect the country’s fortunes and insulate it from the ravages of external shocks.

The need for the people to change their taste for locally produced goods and services is long overdue. We must strive to reverse the current trend where our local currency in many instances in the last three years has been described as the worst performing currency.

While we urge the government to double its efforts at scaling up its collaboration with the private sector through public private partnerships to increase production in all aspects of the economy, we are hopeful that when the tough measures are taken to push a little more for Ghanaians to consume what is produced locally, we will all accept it in good faith.

Let us be reminded that the more we import, the more we help create jobs for the country of origin of the products. Therefore, as the country’s unemployment situation rises, we need to work more on import substitution commodities in order to turn round the clock.

The country’s agricultural sector, for instance, holds a lot of opportunities for the youth. If well explored, there will be no need to import food from neighbouring countries which have the same climate and soil quality as ours.

The Daily Graphic trusts that a more pragmatic approach, aimed at changing the narrative for the better, must be adopted by imbibing a sense of consuming what we grow or growing more of what we consume.

We also want the government to find innovative means to create a better business environment, reduce taxes and incentivise sectors that have the potential to help turn the fortunes of the economy around.

We have no doubt that with the right approaches and commitment, Ghanaians will be ready to accept locally produced products which can also help reduce our reliance on imports to save the local currency from further decline.

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