HomeGeneral NewsImport restriction bill will be back – Trade Minister

Import restriction bill will be back – Trade Minister

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Kobina Tahir Hammond

The Minister for Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond has disclosed that government will re-introduce the import restrictions bill to parliament in due time.

According to him, the Legislative Instrument (LI), which faced opposition from traders, importers and the minority in parliament, and was subsequently withdrawn, has not been abandoned.

He assured that the LI will return to parliament to ensure that the original purpose of the law to protect local manufacturers from the influx of cheap imported goods are halted.

“How come every conceivable item that we consume in this country is imported? Look at our Balance of Payment accounts. Just last year in 2023, we imported over 200 million dollars’ worth of animal intestines (yemuadie) as food”, he said at the 30th anniversary of Rose Alumnium Company and the 65th birthday of the founder of the company, Vivian Serwaa Adu.

In December 2023, government suspended the LI which sought to compel importers of some 22 restricted items, including poultry, rice, sugar, diapers and animal entrails to seek licences from a committee to be set up by the Trade Minister.

The minority in parliament on three occasions, blocked the laying of the L.I. on the grounds that it was not only dangerous but violated international trade practices and could give too much powers to the minister. It also could serve grounds for corruption.

However addressing captains of industry, Mr. Hammond insisted that the law is needed to sanitise Ghana’s import sector to protect local producers.

“How can we be importing so much rice? The LI has just been held in abeyance. I can promise you (Dr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi), we are going to lay it”,  he stressed.

Mr. Hammond maintained that government will not allow a few people to take the economy to ransom.

Citing Malaysia and Singapore as examples of countries that took such bold decisions to protect their indigenous companies to be globally competitive, he stated that there is the need to take tough decisions to save the Ghanaian economy.

“My enemies were going round saying you are cutting import and there will be starvation. No president will allow starvation. If the policy will starve Ghanaians the president would have sacked me”, he said.

“When I came here (Rose Aluminium) I was told this company owned by Vivian Adu is one of the companies that started here, but now, the whole enclave is surrounded by foreign companies. We must change that and give Ghanaians the opportunity”, he said.

For his part, Chairman of the Board of Tropical Cable and Conductor Limited, Dr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi emphasised the need for the government to be firm and take bold decisions in protecting local companies.

“Local businesses were ready to welcome the restriction because we knew it will protect Ghanaian companies”, he said.

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