Ghanaian traders who source their wares in Togo have expressed worry about the recent political unrest in the neighbouring country, saying it has led to a sharp rise in the CFA franc.
Few weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of opposition-alliance supporters took to the streets in several cities across Togo to call for constitutional reform, asking current president, Faure Gnassingbé, who has been in power since 2005, to step down.
This situation, the traders said, is negatively affecting their businesses, as they are unable to buy more goods to retail in Ghana, with the few who are able to restock, left with no option than to increase the prices of their goods.
The West African CFA franc, as of Monday, was trading at GH7.98 and GH?8 for a 1000 CFA, on the black market.
Hajia Salamtu, a trader who deals in ladies’ underwear at Tudu in Accra, expressed with frustration, how she is unable to replenish her goods even though she had run out of stock.
“Around the same time last year, the CFA sold at GH?6.50, but now, it is almost GH?8.00 and it is too much. It is killing us, that is why we cannot go and buy our goods.
Also, considering that the Christmas season is approaching, we are even scared the situation will be worse, so something must really be done about it.”, she said.
Another retailer, Ayisha Issah, commenting on how the political instability has impacted on her business, expressed similar sentiments, saying, the situation has affected the currency situation badly.
She said: “It was only during the time of the protests that we were short of goods, because we could not enter the country, even though there was demand for our goods. And that is the only way it affected us. But now, we are only worried about the rising cost of the currency.”
The situation has not left out operators of the black-market bureaux. Dealers have also raised concerns about the speedy rise of the CFA franc, with some blaming it partly on the political instability of Togo in recent times, while others blame it merely on the economy as a whole.
They noted that because of the high cost of the currency these days, they have lost many customers who are mostly market women.
Another trader, Mallam Iddrisu said: “Our business has been partly affected by the situation there, because even though we make some sale at the end of the day, it is not like before.
It is the market women who buy the CFA, but because of the cost, they don’t really come of late, and our business has slowed as a result.
I also think the country’s economy is to blame because if the dollar doesn’t depreciate in value, the CFA cannot”, he added.