CUTS International  wades into Import restrictions brouhaha

Story: News Desk 

West Africa Director, CUTS International, Appiah Adomako Kusi, has suggested to the Minister of Trade and Industry, KT Hammond, to go back to the drawing board following the resistance against government’s move to pass a Legislative Instrument to restrict imports of some selected products.

Tempers flared up last Friday when the sector minister tried to lay the legislative instrument in Parliament as the Minority vehemently rejected the move.

In an interview with the media,  Mr. Appiah Adomako Kusi believed  the government’s decision to restrict the importation of 22 products in the country was rushed, citing other countries where years of planning go into such policies before implementation.

“It appears someone woke up one morning, went to the office, and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ In most countries, literature tells us that about 45 years of planning go into such measures. They identify the products they want to restrict, the measures needed to improve local capacity, and the constraints of local production. Once you address all of these things, then you give the market, consumers, and businesses a bit of notice, saying, ‘From 2026, there won’t be imports into the country because we have an excess of rice, wheat, or sorghum in the country.’”

“Here is the case we don’t have these commodities in excess and whenever you want to do this, the problem is that it’s going to shoot up prices and then consumers are going to be worse off. You will see politicians trying to capitalise on it to make money. I think that we will need to go back to the drawing board. At least we are supposed to have seen all these measures in the 2024 budget. What are the specific measures the budget is addressing on this?” he asked.

“Ghana trying to restrict importation of some goods is not bad because the country cannot open its borders for every goods to come in. We need to be able to improve upon our local capacity to other markets like most countries have been doing. So that the cedi can have rest from the US dollar.”

Six business associations that will be affected by the import restrictions bill have submitted a petition to Parliament in opposition to the proposed legislative instrument.

The groups under the umbrella name, Joint Business Consultative Forum, include the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA), Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG), and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI).

The bill, if passed, will restrict the importation of 22 products in the country.

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