Financial journalist Toma Imihere has opined that only arresting persons engaged in illegal foreign exchange trading is not a sustainable measure to address the depreciation of the cedi.
The Bank of Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service recently undertook an operation in key parts of Accra aimed at clamping down on unlawful foreign exchange operators, also known as ‘black market’ operators.
Speaking with Accra-based Citi News on the development, Tomi Imihere believes that government must rather adopt a permanent solution to addressing the black-market operations.
“You can’t even keep this thing up. You have black markets all around the country. The police are understaffed and under-resourced. They have their murder cases facing them, their kidnapping cases facing them, so they tend to prioritise.”
As part of efforts to address the cedi depreciation, Tomi Imihere suggested that the Bank of Ghana liberalise the formal market which is often represented by forex bureaus operating in the country.
“So, there will be less incentives for people to go and store up dollars in the hope of making a profit or at least storing value. What the Bank of Ghana needs to do is ease the restrictions on the formal market, especially at the retail end. All you do is you take out criminal money… but apart from that, let everything go without question,” he explained.
Meanwhile, some 76 individuals and entities have been arrested and are expected to face prosecution after the BoG and Police found them to have been engaged in the buying and selling of foreign exchange without approval or license from the regulator.
The activities of ‘black market’ operators have been attributed as one of the major causes for the depreciation of the cedi against major trading currencies, especially the US dollar.
The local currency is currently selling above GH¢10 to US$1 on the retail echange market.