Ghana’s government is working on a new policy to buy oil products with gold rather than U.S. dollar reserves, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia said on Facebook on Thursday.
The move is meant to tackle dwindling foreign currency reserves coupled with demand for dollars by oil importers, which is 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 to less than three months of imports cover. That is down from around $9.7 billion at the end of last year, according to the government.
If implemented as planned for the first quarter of 2023, the new policy “will fundamentally change our balance of payments and significantly reduce the persistent depreciation of our currency,” Bawumia said.
Using gold would prevent the exchange rate from directly impacting fuel or utility prices as domestic sellers would no longer need foreign exchange to import oil products, he explained.
“The barter of gold for oil represents a major structural change,” he added.