‘Supporting' cedi damages Agric sector - Ken Thompson

‘Supporting' cedi damages Agric sector - Ken Thompson
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com |Abubakar Ibrahim
Date: 03-04-2019 Time: 04:04:01:pm
Ken Thompson is the CEO of Dalex Finance

 Chief Executive Officer of Dalex Finance has said supporting the cedi prevents the right investment decisions from being made.

Ken Thompson said it prevents Ghanaians from changing their consumption habits and puts their food security at risk by reducing the price of imported food and making our local food production expensive and uncompetitive.

“Let the cedi fall to reflect its true value. This will promote local food crop farming and exports. Unemployment and poverty will continue to rise unless we start reducing the level of food imports and increasing local food production.

“If we continue to import food, one day we will lose our ability to produce food altogether and if our trading partners get upset with us, we will starve...we are importing everything and producing virtually nothing,” he said.

Mr. Thompson was speaking an economic dialogue series held in Accra recently on the theme “The Ghana cedi, breaking the cycle of depreciation”. 

“This is the same country that took cocoa, which is not indigenous to Ghana, developed it, and at a point, became the number one exporter in the world, so don’t tell me Ghanaians do not respond to economic incentives,” he said.

Touching on some of the pragmatic measures that can help address the phenomenon in the long-term, Mr. Thompson said, agriculture is the silver bullet.

He wants government to make agriculture ‘sexy’, provide the rural areas with wifi, roads, health facilities, potable water, good schools, extension services and all the things that will make life comfortable for those who choose to live there, “otherwise we will end up nowhere…”

A section of the audience at the dialogue

The Dalex Finance CEO emphasised the need for the provision of tax and other incentives to exporters.

“Just focusing on replacing the food and livestock that we import such as rice and chicken will make a huge difference to Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves and food security,” he stated. 

He seized the opportunity to clear the myth that blames the fall of the cedi on Forex Bureau operators.

According to him, the operators do not have the resources to undertake the kind of speculation they are mistakenly credited with.

Mr. Thompson said the operators should rather be appreciated for making the value of the cedi even lower as they perform what he describes as a very effective arbitrage function.

He said the woe of the cedi is purely a structural problem which will require a long-term effort and a painful process to address.

“Instituting kneejerk measures to arrest the downward slide of the currency will fail,” he said questioning how “we expect to correct a structural problem without pain?”  

Other speakers at the event were Dr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi, former AGI President; Messrs Emmanuel Asiedu-Mantey, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and Kwame Pianim, an Economist.

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