Some forex bureaus in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, have disclosed to Citi News that they are struggling to pay salaries of their workers and their utility bills due to limited access to major trading currencies as a result of the high rate of depreciation of the Ghana cedi.
Many business owners, particularly, importers have in recent times lamented about the high rate of depreciation of the Ghana cedi as against other major trading currencies.
The situation appears to be more worrying for them as they say it is very difficult to have access to the currencies at the prevailing rates as advertised on the Bank of Ghana website since they are way higher at the commercial banks or at the forex bureaus.
Citi News checks at some major forex bureau companies in Kumasi show that many are struggling to have access to the major trading currencies; a situation which is negatively affecting their operations.
One of the owners of the forex bureau companies who spoke to Citi Business News on condition of anonymity says due to the situation, they are unable to pay the salaries of their workers.
“Forex Bureau companies are struggling. Payment of our workers’ salaries and utility bills have become a huge challenge for us”.
The limited access to the international trading currencies at the commercial banks and forex bureaus also means that people are left with no other option than to get it from individuals who exchange currencies illegally at higher rates.
One of those who engage in the illegal exchange, which is popularly known as the black market, has been speaking to Citi Business News on the current rates.
“We buy one dollar at a rate of GH¢6.90 while we sell at GH¢7. Although the Bank of Ghana indicates on its website that the dollar sells as GH¢6.4, that is not the reality on the ground. The Banks always say they don’t have dollars at their disposal”.
Members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) are among those who usually buy currencies in order to import their goods.
With Covid-19 still having a toll on their businesses in various forms, the Ashanti regional chairman of GUTA, Anthony Oppong says the current rate of depreciation of the Ghana cedi as against major trading currencies has made their situation much worse.
“It is affecting us so much because, as we all know, our businesses depend on importation. Most of the goods that our traders deal in are imported into the country. Now, with the increase in the exchange rate, it is affecting everything”
GUTA members, the forex bureau companies and those at the black market are thus calling on government and other relevant stakeholders to put measures in place to stabilise the Ghana cedi to improve the ease of doing business.
“We are appealing to the government to do something about the exchange rate depreciation for us. At least, the government should do something to stabilise it because last month, I exchanged at 5.65 Ghana cedis for the dollar during my last transfer and today, I am exchanging around 7.0. Look at the difference,” Ashanti regional GUTA chairman, Mr. Anthony Oppong stated.
“We need to come together and our leaders, irrespective of the party and get those with the expertise to mould a system to help solve this problem,” a forest bureau owner in Kumasi noted.
“I am appealing to the Bank of Ghana to sell the dollars at the rate that is being advertised on their website to the individuals. If indeed the dollar is selling at 6.4 Ghana cedis, why will people come to the black market to purchase from us at 7 Ghana cedis?” a black market dealer quizzed.