December 5, 2020

Chamber of Commerce calls for intensified collaboration to tackle cedi depreciation

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has tasked the government to deepen its collaboration with the private sector to address the continuous depreciation of the cedi.

Inflation moderated from 9.8 percent in December 2018 to 7.9 percent in 2019 mainly due to a decline in non-food inflation and rebasing of the inflation basket.

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Average lending rate also dropped 26.9 percent to 23.6 percent leaving businesses with a better credit power to operate.

Speaking at the Chamber’s 44th Annual General Meeting, the outgone President of GNCCI, Nana Dr. Appiagyei Dankawoso I believes a fairly stable exchange rate regime is necessary for business growth hence the need for a collaboration.

“The monetary policy rate was also reduced by 100 basis point in December 2018 to 17 percent and further maintained throughout 2019. The cost of credit reduced from 26.9 percent in 2018 to 23.6 percent in 2019 thus improving private sector credit growth and marginal decline of non-performing loans in 2019. On the external front, the local currency depreciated against all the major trading currencies; the dollar, pound sterling and euro in 2019. The Chamber maintains that a fairly stable exchange rate regime is critical for business growth. The Chamber, therefore, calls for collaboration between the private sector and government to address the perennial depreciation of the cedi,” he stated.

Also speaking at the meeting, the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Wamkele Mene advocated for inclusiveness of all African countries in the upcoming agreement.

According to him, this is to avoid any perception that the free trade area is to only benefit already developed countries or countries with the best trade practices.

He noted that one purpose of the agreement is to create sustainable means to build the less industrialized countries in Africa.

He remarked, “Other parts of the world neglected very important segments of society when they were implementing their trade agreements. That is why today, we have heads of states of some countries who will say they are rejecting free trade because it works only for the elite. We have to avoid that mistake.”

“We must make sure that when we implement this agreement, its benefits are inclusive across the African continent and we’ve got to make sure that we avoid the backlash that may happen if this agreement is perceived to benefit only the elite, big multi-national companies in Africa or already industrialised countries in Africa. So that means that we’ve got to take active steps to ensure that countries on the continent that today, may not have the industrial base and productive capacity to export, will in the next 15 years to come, be full participants in the value chain that shall be leveraged on this agreement.”

Election of new executives

In line with the constitution of the GNCCI, new National Executives were elected at the AGM.

The newly elected President is in the person of Clement Osei-Amoako with Victoria M.E. Hajar as the first Vice President, Stephane Miezan as the second Vice President and Dr. Emelia Assiakwa as National Treasurer.

The Annual General Meeting of the Chamber was held to review the annual reports and financial statements of the Chamber for the year 2019 and elect new National Executives who will be steering the affairs of the Chamber for the next two years.

Some dignitaries present included Dr. John Hawkins-Asiedu (Technical Advisor, Industrial Parks, Free Zones at the Ministry of Trade and Industry), who stood in for the Trade Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, and other prominent representatives from Development Partners, Business Associations, Government Agencies, International Organisations and the Diplomatic Corps.

Source: Business