By mid- 1978 inflation in Ghana was thought to be at about 300%. In July Gen. I.K. Acheampong was deposed in a palace coup and Gen. F.W.K. Akuffo took over as Head of State and set into motion a demonetization program partly to address inflation and getting rid of large hordes of illegal, cedi holdings both in and outside the country and to further strengthen the currency by reducing the excess liquidity in the system. On March 5-9, 1979, by the Cedi (New Notes) Decree 1979 (SMCD) 226, people were made to send to the banks C100 in return for C70.00. However, all amounts in excess of 5,000 was to be exchanged at a ratio of 5:10, that is for every 100 after one has changed up to the tune of 5,000 he or she was to receive 50 of the new notes. Though by April 9, 1979 there was a reduction by 30% in excess liquidity, the policy did not work because inflation began to rise again
Earlier in October 1978, the effects of these measures especially the August devaluation had become pronounced as the prices of consumer goods doubled and even quadrupled in some cases. The hardships were felt by every segment of Ghanaian society; with the urban dweller being the hardest hit. Discontent became widespread among the people. It was therefore not surprising that between August and November 1978 the country recorded eight strikes involving over 70,000 workers. The most serious of the strikes were those by the workers of the postal services, the Electricity Corporation and GIHOC. The main aim of the strikers was to secure a pay rise to meet the cost of living which rose sharply after the August 1978 devaluation of the cedi against the US dollar.
Unable to manage the situation, the government on November 6, 1978, declared a state of emergency and passed the Emergency Decree of 1978 which outlawed strikes and other forms of protest and declared damage to property as a criminal act and against the security of the state. The government began to play down the effect of this situation by beginning to recruit new employees to fill the jobs held by the striking civil servants. The Decree also granted the government the right to detain people without trial restrict the movement of citizens and control property.