The Deputy Finance Minister of Finance, John Kumah, has described the fallacy of NDC comment on the cedi strength as laughable.

According to him, there has been a decrease in the depreciation rate of the cedi against the dollar by a 3.63% as of December 2021 in Akufo-Addo’s era compared to NDC time.

“The fallacy of the NDC on the cedi’s strength is laughable. The pace of depreciation of the cedi against the major trading currencies during the era of the NDC were in their high twenties,” he noted.

He added this evident as the cedi was ranked as the best performing currency in February 2020 under the NPP government.

This comes after the NDC, in a presser yesterday to voice out the concerns on the party on the benchmark value reversal policy, lamented about the strength of the cedi.

The Deputy Finance Minister commenting on the “alarming rate of increase in world commodity prices” by the NDC noted that it is evident the party does not “understand the dynamics of the international commodity market and how such developments there bodes or affect the Ghanaian economy.”

Giving an insight into the commodity prices, he explained that global developments are often not within the control of governments.

Therefore, government price takers “only mitigate the effects of external headwinds on their domestic economies.”

“For Ghana, three commodities impact the Country: gold, oil and cocoa. Gold prices for the better part of 2021 were fairly stable, averaging US$1,790.69 per ounce. The increases in the price of gold bode well for the economy. However, because Ghana is a net importer, developments there have a double-tail effect on the economy for crude oil.

“Even with oil, following the initial sustained rise for most of 2021, it peaked in October 2021 and subsequently plummeted. The development has varied implications for budget and pump prices. For cocoa, increases in the price of the beans bode well for the economy. As a result, cocoa prices have been largely stable for 2021 with minimal swings,” he explained.

John Kumah also described as regrettable and pedestrian the views expressed by the National Democratic Congress on the benchmark reversal policy.

According to him, should the NDC have done “a little research, it would have unearthed the countless benefits that government and local businesses would accrue for reversing this policy.”’

He added that the NDC view on the reversal of benchmark values “appears shallow, ill-informed, and inconsistent with its 2020 Manifesto “Edwuma Pa Plan”, where they promised to prioritise local production for rapid industrialisation, job creation and entrepreneurship.”

The National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, stated that the NDC believed this is not the time for more taxes and draconian revenue measures such as the reversal of benchmark value discounts.

The NDC, therefore, called on the Ghana Revenue Authority to rescind its decision to withdraw the existing discounts on benchmark values.

This, he said was because, the reversal will only impose untold hardship on the generality of the Ghanaian populace, thus the need for government to pull the breaks accordingly.

“This terrible decision comes at a time when the national currency is depreciating, and world commodity prices are increasing at an alarming rate, with freight charges and port handling charges being extremely high.

“More importantly, the callous decision by government to reverse benchmark value discounts comes at a time Ghanaian businesses, startups, parents, and households are reeling under a yoke of excessive taxation, persistent increases in fuel prices and high cost of living never before witnessed in the annals of our country.”

Mr Kumah defended that government’s idea on the 50% and 30% discount on selected imported general goods and imported vehicles, respectively.

According to the Deputy Finance Minister, the 50% and 30 % discounts “enhanced the competitiveness of Ghana ports in the West African region as the many flagships under the National Industrial Revitalisation Programme.

“It is also important to state that the benchmark value discount policy of 50% on selected imported general goods and 30% on imported vehicles is the creation of the NPP government and not the NDC. Isn’t it strange that the NDC party, who in their 8-years in power, never saw the need for such a policy to emerge as defenders of the policy suddenly? Why didn’t the NDC government, when the Country was ensnared with Dumsor, implement a benchmark value policy to cushion Ghanaians and importers? Does the NDC appreciate the rationale for the policy in the first place? Certainty, gauging from their presser, one will not be wrong to suggest the NDC does not appreciate the dynamics of economic management,” he added.

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