For the umpteenth time, the Bank of Ghana, is cautioning Ghanaians against dealing in pricing, advertising, receipting or making payments for goods and services in foreign currency without the requisite licence or authorisation.
According to a statement issued by the BoG, such violations are punishable on summary conviction, by a fine of up to seven hundred (700) penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than 18 months, or both.
The BoG, again last year as part of its financial literacy education on forex bureaux, said among other things that, 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.
The caution by the Central bank, in our opinion, flows from the depreciating of the Cedi, which continues to generate concern in the country, essentially, because of its impact on the economy generally.
Curiously, in our opinion as consistent as the BoG has been, it has failed to yield the desired results, because over the years, not a single person, has been punished for trading in foreign currency to serve as deterrent to others.
The enormity of this illicit practice has the black market as its root. The black market has defied every effort to curb the trade of foreign currency, especially the dollar.
Without prejudice to the processes already in place to get to the bottom of this act, this newspaper is of the opinion that using national security in this fight is not what will win the BoG this fight, as their involvement in matters of security, have only ended up been disastrous.