SONA24: Gold-for-oil has significantly reduced pressures on forex – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo has indicated that the government’s gold-for-oil policy has significantly reduced pressure on forex. He said the policy has achieved the needed results and has led to a reduction in the prices of fuel at the pump.In his penultimate State of the Nation Address on Tuesday, February 27, the president added that the government is taking drastic measures to rectify some of the handicaps hindering the implementation of the policy.

“Mr Speaker, we have all heard about the Gold for Oil Programme. It has been explained, debated and talked about. At this moment, all I want to say about it is that the Gold for Oil Programme has worked well, and reduced significantly forex pressures on bulk energy storage, transportation and bulk imports, distribution and export companies, and enabled them to negotiate more competitive premiums with suppliers.

“Premiums dropped from one hundred and eighty to two hundred dollars per metric tonnes ($180-200/MT) to seventy dollars per metric tonnes ($70/MT) or less. This also resulted in reduced and stabilized prices at the pumps of between twelve to thirteen cedis (GH¢12-13) per litre for the whole of 2023. “We are taking steps to rectify some of the handicaps that have limited the full participation of Ghanaians in  the oil and gas industry. For years, the well-paid jobs in the industry were taken exclusively by foreign nationals, because we did not have people qualified in those fields.”

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia announced the policy in 2022, in an attempt to tackle Ghana’s dwindling foreign currency reserves coupled with the demand for dollars by oil importers, which was Headlines weakening the local cedi and increasing living costs. Ghana’s Gross International Reserves stood at around $6.6 billion at the end of September 2022, equating toless than three months of import cover. That is down from around $9.7 billion at the end of 2021, according to the government.