ACCRA, June 13 Ghana's central bank will relax
foreign exchange curbs it had imposed in February to try to halt
a slide in the cedi, saying on Friday it will allow limited
foreign currency transactions for domestic services.
Benjamin Amoah, head of financial stability, said the bank
would also ask the government to direct mining and oil firms to
operate retention accounts in Ghana to boost foreign exchange
Central bank Governor Henry Kofi Wampah had flagged plans to
ease FX restrictions to Reuters in a telephone interview on
The original restrictions included a directive that foreign
exchange bought for settlement of import bills should be lodged
in a special margin account to be drawn within 30 days. The bank
also stipulated that the proceeds from exports should be
converted into cedis within five working days.
There was also a suspension of cash withdrawals and payment
in foreign currencies.
But many, including the International Monetary Fund, have
said the measures were ineffective. The cedi has plunged
28 percent this year due to import demand and fiscal weakness.
"After a thorough assessment of the measures introduced in
February, and analysing available data, inward remittances and
forex deposits, the Bank of Ghana has decided to make these
changes while we continue to monitor developments," Amoah said.
He denied that the central bank acted under pressure.
The central bank reversed a 60-day mandatory repatriation of
export proceeds and their conversion into cedi within five days,
Amoah said. However restrictions on the use of cheques for the
withdrawal of foreign currency will remain in force, he added.
He said foreign currency account holders could now withdraw
cash over-the-counter of $1,000 per transaction and a single
lump sum withdrawal of up to $10,000 before leaving for travel
In addition, service providers such as hotels and schools
can now accept payment in foreign currency, Amoah said, adding
that the changes will come into effect June 16.
"The bank wishes to emphasise that foreign exchange is
freely transferable to meet legitimate external payment
obligations," he added.
(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Joe Bavier/Ruth