Governor Dr Ernest Addison

The Bank of Ghana has issued a warning to those buying or sell foreign currency to or from unlicensed person or entity, saying it is prohibited by law.

It is therefore urging all and sundry to report such illegal activities to the Financial Stability Department of the Bank of Ghana.

In a release as part of its financial literacy education on forex bureaux, the Central Bank said those engaged in the buying and selling of foreign currency without a license would be punished upon a summary conviction, by a fine or a prison term of not more than 18 months, or both.

In that regard, the ‘black market’ operator is an illegal foreign exchange dealer who does not have Bank of Ghana’s license, and thus must be avoided.

“A Bank of Ghana license issued to a forex bureau should be displayed in the premises. In addition all forex bureau are required to affix the forex bureau logo in front of their premises. Look out for the forex bureau logo”, it also mentioned.

It further said one will be required to provide identification documents before conducting any transaction with a forex bureau, and therefore any forex bureau that does not demand an ID card should be reported. The identification card includes, passport, driver’s license, voters ID and National ID card.

Subject to availability, it continued, saying, one can obtain foreign currency from only authorized banks and forex bureaux after providing all relevant documentation.

It cautioned consumers to be careful because one is likely to trade in fake currency, be drawn into money laundering, terrorist financing or be attacked by armed robbers when one does business with a black market operator.

It further added that the sole legal tender in the country is the cedi and therefore it is prohibited to price, advertise and demand for payment for goods and services in foreign currency.

“The sole legal tender in Ghana is the Ghana cedi and the Ghana pesewa. It is prohibited to price, advertised and demand payment for goods and services in foreign currency.”

Furthermore “the license issued to forex bureau by the Bank of Ghana permits them to engage only in on the spot selling and buying of foreign currencies. You cannot deposit Ghana cedis with a forex bureau at an agreed rate and collect the foreign currency equivalent at a later date”, it said.

Meanwhile, the maximum amount per transaction at the forex bureau is $10,000.