President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged manufacturers, traders, and transport operators who raised prices for goods and services during the cedi’s depreciation to lower them now that the cedi is strengthening.
He urged Ghanaians to join the clarion call for price reductions, which he described as not only fair but also just, so that Ghanaians could enjoy a more enjoyable Christmas.
On Sunday, the President made the call during a thanksgiving service commemorating the year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Ga Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) at Accra’s Independence Square.
President Akufo-Addo, who traced his maternal and paternal grandparents’ roles in the formation and growth of the Presbyterian Church in Ghana, cut the centenary cake and donated GHc100,000 to the church.
The theme of the anniversary was “Grateful for our Heritage: Forging Forward in Unity and Faith.”
The congregation, dressed in centennial gown, filled the stands as well as the inner perimeter of the iconic square.
Concerning the policies that had resulted in the cedi’s gains, the President stated that the feat had not occurred by chance, but rather through the implementation of deliberate policies by the government in collaboration with the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
These included cedi liquidity tightening measures, which resulted in speculators abandoning forex as a store of value, an increase in forex inflows from remittances and the mining sector, and a staff level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $3 billion package.
He explained that all those had combined bring the cedi to an improved position and gave an assurance that the government would continue to work hard to maintain and sustain the gains made.
He stated that the BoG would continue to buy forex from the mining and oil sectors in the coming weeks to increase liquidity supply to the market, as well as continue with a single unified forex forward auction and some targeted bilateral support to critical imports, as well as the implementation of the gold-for-oil swap transaction, which would significantly reduce forex pressures on the cedi.
Referring to the anniversary’s theme, the President stated that it reminded him of the difficult economic times and why Christians should hold on to their faith and never stop believing in the power and grace of the Almighty God.
He touched on the challenges the world had been through from 2020 till now, including high freight charges, high fuel costs, high food prices and steep inflationary hikes, adding that the depreciation of the cedi reached record lows in November, making the jury out on his government.
“At the height of our challenges, there were some who doubted the capability and resolve of my government and I to return our nation back onto the path of progress and prosperity and lift us out of our current problems,” he added.
He noted that in those dark moments, he recalled St Matthew in Chapter 19 verse 26: “Jesus looked at them and said to them, with men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible”.
He stated that the government was turning things around through appropriate policies, determination, and hard work, but he cautioned that the country was not yet out of the woods.
“However, today, the cedi is rapidly appreciating against the US dollar and all major currencies, making up for its losses, and the prices of petroleum products are reducing at the pump,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that hard times were affecting everyone, but vowed that the government would not shirk its responsibility to make the difficult decisions that hard times demanded.
That, he said, might be painful, just like injections, but must be taken “if we are to be well again and get our economy back in a good place. The policies and programmes we are implementing are meant to address the challenges”.
The President, who was baptized Presbyterian, said the word ‘Presbyterian’ evoked certain images in the mind, such as strict disciplinarian, dislike of ostentation, hardworking, straight-talking, virtues of fortitude, temperance, prudence and justice.
According to Rt Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, Moderator of the PCG General Assembly, the recent economic turmoil that engulfed the country compelled the PCG, the Pentecost Church, and the Methodist Church to resort to fasting and prayers in order to seek the intervention of the Almighty God.
He stated that, despite not being an economist, he was confident in the 2023 budget statement because he recognized that it had the potential to turn things around, saying “no wonder it has begun” and giving credit to God.
In response to the appreciation of the Ghana cedi, he cited Micah 7:8: “Rejoice not against me, O my enemy: when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.”
The Bible quotation of the Ghana cedi against the major international currencies, according to the Moderator,