Last year, Ghana President John Dramani Mahama blamed the court challenge to his 2012 election win for the free fall of the local cedi currency. But after resolution of the case in his favour in September, the currency has still not found its level, to the ire of many Ghanaians who have had to contend with the rising prices of basic goods, leading some to pray in hope of a change. Local musician Guru has summed up the frustration of the population with his new hit single, "Boys Abre", which in the local Akan language means the "boys are tired". It is one of the most played songs by radio DJs nationally, even if not so for its dance version, named Akayida, whose pronunciation many say rhymes with the Al-Qaeda terror group. Opposition parliamentarians have however taken to shouting "Boys Abre!" in the House to show that life has become more difficult in the last six months as the prices of goods and services soar, a rise they attribute to the falling value of the cedi against the US dollar. Bank of Ghana officials concede that the cedi depreciated three per cent against the major international currencies in January. Last week the central bank announced that it had injected $20 million in crucial areas of the economy in an effort to shore up the local currency, following protests from traders. Before Christmas, the US dollar exchanged at 2.20 cedis , but is now as 2.60 cedis . The British pound, which over the same period sold for 3 cedis , is now at 4.20 of the local unit. The euro and the CFA are selling at 3.50 and 4.80 cedis respectively. Bank of Ghana said that the local currency suffered a 17 per cent depreciation last year. Available data show that year-on-year depreciation was 21.96 per cent against the dollar, 28.88 per cent to the British pound, 23.98 per cent to the euro and 25.54 per cent to the Swiss franc. Hardest-hit Bank of Ghana said the currency suffered a 17-per cent depreciation last year. Statistics show that year-on-year depreciation was at 21.96 per cent depreciation against the dollar; 28.88 per cent against the British Pound; 23.98 per cent against the Euro and 25.54 per cent to the Swiss franc. Vehicle spare part traders at the local Accra's Abossey Okai market, who control a significant part of the foreign exchange trade due to their imports, have been among those hardest-hit. "Over the past year, those of us who trade at Abossey Okai have had our trading capital vanish because when we go to buy outside, by the time we come the price of the dollar rises so much that we are not able to sell because people are not able to buy," Mr Seidu Alhassan told Africa Review. The increased dollarisation of the economy has inflammed the situation. Hotels and most property owners peg their prices in dollars and with the rapid rise in exchange rates, almost everything is priced out of the reach of the ordinary person. The government has also removed subsidies on petroleum products, leading to near-weekly increases in the price of fuel. "Within two weeks the local bus fare from my house to work has increased by 40 per cent and this has had ripple effects on food prices as well," said Mrs Rebecca Kwei , an Accra resident. Spiritual cause One man however, thinks this is a spiritual rather than an economic issue. Leading church leader Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, the General Overseer of the Christian Action Faith Ministries (CAFM), has taken to the pulpit to "command" the currency to "rise". During a prayer session, the archbishop said there was need to pray for the recovery of the fast depreciating local currency. Holding up a cedi note, he said: "With prayer, I command the Ghana cedi to recover and I declare the cedi will not fall; it will not fall any further. I command the cedi to climb. I command the resurrection of the cedi. I command and release a miracle for the economy." He also prayed for President Mahama, Finance minister Seth Tekper and central bank governor Dr Henry Kofi Wampah for divine help in helping salvage the cedi. "In the name of Jesus, Satan take your hands off the president; take your hands off the central bank and the Finance minister. We release innovation for the president, my God, the governor of the Bank of Ghana , in the name of Jesus Christ the son of God, the Finance minister. We command new ideas, breakthroughs and a miracle for the economy. Let the cedi rise in Jesus name," he concluded.
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