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16.05.2007 General News


By Ghana Palaver
… Ex-change Cedis for CFA and Dollar business booming  
With just a month and a half away from the re-denomination of the cedi, skeptics, in anxiety are rushing to change their cedi notes into CFA in Aflao and parts of Lome in anticipation of the change.
Some Togolese and other nationals mainly Nigerians resident in Lome who are having cedi holdings in banks in Ghana mainly at Aflao were also said to be withdrawing their savings and buying CFA notes.
Dealers in currency in both Lome and Aflao confirmed to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Monday that they have since the beginning of this month witnessed an unusual high demand for CFA notes in exchange for cedis.
A shortage of CFA notes blamed on the demand hit the area on Monday, but some dealers believe their colleagues were intentionally creating the shortage to push the exchange rates up.
The CFA hit its highest rate of 20,200 cedis and 20,000 cedis to a 1,000 CFA in Lome and Aflao respectively on Monday after it hovered between 18,000 and 18,500 cedis for months.
A dealer who refused to give his name told the GNA that in their interaction with the customers they got the feeling that the rush was out of fear of losing the value of their cedi holdings during the re-denomination exercise or lose it all together.
“Many Togolese are withdrawing their cedi accounts to avoid losing their money and changing it into CFA (rpt CFA) to the extent that we are short of CFA notes,” the dealer said.
Mr. Atsou Ahorlou, another Lome based dealer said they know how to handle the re-denomination exercise and are not worried about the cedi notes they are receiving now.
Mr. Alfred Kpeglo, a staff of the Darrah Forex Bureau at Aflao confirmed the unusual high demand for CFA notes but said he could not attribute it to the impending re-denomination exercise.
“We have noticed a sharp increase in the demand for CFA notes but we cannot assign the re-denomination as the cause,” he said.
Mr. Kpeglo said it was unusual seeing a high demand for CFA notes after the celebration of major religious festivals such as Christmas and Easter.
  “With Easter just having been celebrated we expected the usual recession in trade and demand for CFA notes here,” he said.
Mr. Kpeglo said education on the re-denomination had been very poor and cautioned that complacency could jeopardize the exercise.
He also noted that the design of the note with the portrait of the Big Six on each of them could create identification problems for the illiterate class.
Meanwhile sources close to local banks said they have not taken note of any unusual high withdrawals