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04.05.2007 Business & Finance

Shops Not Ready For Re-Denomination

Shops Not Ready For Re-Denomination

Some shopping malls and retail shops in certain parts of Accra are still displaying their prices in the old currency.

This is in spite of a directive from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to them to display the prices in both the old and new currencies, beginning this month.

This came to light following a survey conducted.

That situation has arisen because most shop owners and managers claim they have not been informed by the BoG about the dates on which to display the prices of their products in both the old and new currencies.

Equally guilty for not following the BoG directive are the media houses which are yet to display their prices in both currencies.

Apart from the Daily Guide, which has displayed both ¢5,000 and Gh50p on its front page, many of the newspapers at the stands still display the old price of ¢5,000, including the Daily Graphic and its sister papers.

The BoG last month issued a directive to all shopping malls, stalls and supermarkets to start displaying their prices in the yet-to-be-introduced currency, along with the prices in the old currency.

That decision forms part of the educational programme being undertaken by the central bank to help the public to understand the conversion from the old to the new currency.

The central bank is currently undertaking a policy to re-denominate the country's currency by knocking four zeros off the cedi.

At Maxmart, one of the leading shopping malls in the city, the Shop Manager, who only gave his name as Omar, said the company had not been informed about the exercise to display its prices in both the yet-to-be-introduced currency and the current cedi.

The manager seemed oblivious of the directive and stated that the company would comply with it once it received such an information.

At the 37 On the Run restaurant and shop, however, the Duty Manager, Mr Thomas Opoku, said the company had displayed its prices in both the new and the old notes on the last day of April.

However, Mr Opoku explained that during the May 1 holiday, customers complained of being confused and suggested to management that since the new currency was yet to come into circulation, there was no need to display both rates.

He said the confusion created a lot of problems for cashiers of the company so the management had to quickly take off the prices in the new currency.

Mr Opoku said the company would re-introduce the prices in both currencies at the latter part of the month when the general public had been adequately informed.

He also complained about the fact that no directive had been sent to shops concerning the display of prices in both currencies, apart from television and radio commercials.

A Manager at the Total Filling Station at 37, Mr Richard Klu, also expressed the same views and stated that he was waiting for the directive from the head office to be able to carry out the exercise.

At the Shell Filling Station at La, opposite the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, however, the shop had displayed its prices in both the new and old currencies on some of its products.

A shop attendant explained that the exercise was a tedious one and that by close of day yesterday, all the items in the shop would carry prices in both the old and new notes.

At the Koala Shopping Centre in Osu, the Managing Director, Mr Imad M. Wolley, explained that the company was not aware of the directive to display prices in both the old and new currencies.

The situation there was not different from other shops along the Osu Oxford Street, which is the commercial district of the capital.

At the Swanzy Shopping Arcade which houses many shops selling products ranging from clothing, electrical gadgets, food, books and other products, many of the shops visited had not displayed prices in the new currency.

Indeed, many of the shop attendants interviewed were not aware of the directive from the central bank.

The situation was even worse in the Central Business District of Accra. At Lava, a popular shopping mall, the prices of all items displayed were in the old notes. At the popular Nankani Shop, noted for its sale of electrical gadgets, the situation was not different.

At White Chapel, another popular shopping mall, the prices of all items, ranging from home and personal care products, clothing, travelling bags and other household items, were displayed in the old Ghanaian cedi.

Although most of the shop attendants were aware of the upcoming re-denomination exercise, they were not sure when they were to display prices in both the old and new currencies at the shops.

Story by Boahene Asamoah