Nail cutters, bead weavers, and street beggars were detained after the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and Police invaded various neighborhoods in Accra where they had been mistaken for black market sellers due to the depreciation of the cedi.
In total, more than 70 persons were detained on suspicion of engaging in the business of purchasing and selling foreign currency without an apex bank license.
The government is accusing Black Market traders for currency decline.
Nearly 30% of those detained turned out to be street beggars, bead weavers, and nail cutters who were mistaken for cash exchangers.
Additionally, 60% of those detained who were in fact currency dealers possessed a Forex Bureau License, which allowed them to operate but limited them to merely sitting by the roadside to guide customers to their stores owing to intense competition.
The Bank of Ghana, which Forex traders have referred to as a “incompetent body,” made the last-minute action after recognizing how horribly it was failing to control the currency.
As a result, the BoG and Police conducted a special operation on foreign exchange parallel market operators, also known as black market operators, at hotspots within Accra’s Central Business District, notably Rawlings Park, Makola, and Tudu.
The rapid devaluation of the local currency in comparison to the dollar and other important foreign currencies is allegedly caused by “Black Market” sellers.
A senior official with information responded to the arrests by confirming that certainly nail cutters were unjustly detained while individuals in possession of permits were also detained.
“The Bank of Ghana is just on a face saving gimmick. Some of the people arrested are licensed operators, and most of the people arrested have not even seen dollar before, people who cut nails, people who sell beads, people who sell herbal medicines were all rounded up in an exercise to control the dollar rate. If rates are determine by other people rather than the BOG then clearly the BOG has failed” He said.
Despite the poor showing and result, Head of Forex Exchange Bureau at the Bank of Ghana, Adjoa Konadu Torto, said that is the Central Bank’s strategy to stabilize the currency.
“This special operation was part of the Bank’s overall strategy to sanitize the foreign exchange market. Other measures being put in place include enforcement of compliance from licensed foreign exchange bureau particularly with the taking of customer identification (Ghana card) and issuance of electronic receipt for every forex transaction; intensified public sensitization and media engagements to educate the general public on forex rules and regulations, including the need to avoid the black market,” she said.
She indicated that the exercise will continue in other parts of the country in the coming days.
The Bank further issued a strong caution to the general public to desist from engaging in the services of foreign exchange businesses operating without a license.
“The Bank cautions the general public to desist from engaging in foreign exchange business without a license. Members of the public who patronize the activities of black market operators are equally guilty before the law. The general public must always trade with the Bank of Ghana licensed foreign exchange (forex) bureau,” she noted.
BoG leading police to arrest nail cutters, street beggars mistaken for dollar black marketers has been criticized heavily.
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