The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is predicting a shortage of goods this festive season.
GUTA recently led some traders in Accra to lock up shops in protest of the depreciating cedi and general economic difficulties.
President of the Union, Joseph Obeng in an interview with Citi News said, the drop in value of the cedi against the dollar has eroded the capital of traders and has made them unable to import goods.
“The capital of most businesses has eroded by about 50 per cent. So it looks like we will not be able to bring in the goods as we have done in the previous years. The prices may not also be as they used to be. I can foresee that happening because benchmark values have been reduced by over 60 per cent. So the consumers should not be looking at the traders, but rather the policymakers.”
Dr Obeng tells Citi News that GUTA is in agreement with the President’s suggestions of industrialization and limited importations, but believes this must be done in areas where Ghana has a competitive advantage.
“If we want to sustain our forex and ensure that the country is progressing, we are all for it, but if we want to industrialize and consume what is our own, we should be able to identify the areas we have the comparative advantage in Ghana. Importation has become so difficult these days, but how are the local manufacturers taking advantage? They are unable to take advantage because there is a thin line between the manufacturing here because the companies also import about 90 per cent of the production inputs.”
Already, the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has warned that should the prevailing conditions in the petroleum sector fester, there will be a shortage of petroleum products in the country ahead of the Christmas festivities.
“If you look at the economic activities that occasion the last quarter of the year, we are not looking at the cedi doing any better, importations are going to double because of the festivities and the currency may still take a battering and once that happens you are expecting prices to go up further”, Executive Secretary of the COPEC, Duncan Amoah.