President of Ghana United Traders Association (GUTA) Joseph Obeng is advocating for the banning of all selected items in the proposed Legislative Instrument (LI) which intend to restrict some goods that are imported into the country that cost the nation a lot of foreign currency.
The GUTA President made the call when the business consultative forum of Ghana petitions the Trade and Industry Committee on Parliament, as the Ministry of Trade and Industry is seeking restrictions on importation of twenty-two selected items.
Other association members of the joint business forum are food and beverages of Ghana, importers and exporters association of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), chamber of automobile dealership Ghana, and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in all five member associations.
The GUTA President further told the Committee on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, that it would be better to ban all those listed items in the L.I than to frustrate importers with bureaucracy, nepotism, corruption and others when such L.I is introduce into the system, adding that Ghana has experienced the era of issuing import permit before, yet it didn’t help the system.
“The Minister has told us if we do something and you are not happy with it go to court; we are not going to court because we want to import the shortfall to serve the people of Ghana, we have been here before when late President Rawlings introduced restriction on essential commodities.
We had this restriction in the past and we were supposed to depend on local products you put in order for the local products and it take more than six months before you get it, in 2018 we put restrictions on importation of rice, “what good reference do we have in there, let us know?”
He further pointed out that as the representative of the people of Ghana, it is important when they are crafting a law they factor into it the needs of their representatives especially, those in the business community, for the law to benefit wider Ghanaian than only a few people.
He acknowledged that the L.I would help Ghana add value to its locally manufactured products so that we become self-sufficient. “Manufacturing is never complete unless it reaches the final consumer; we serve as a vehicle to send the goods to the final consumer”, he told the Committee.
Again, making locally manufactured products had been relegated to the background and the focus is only on import restrictions, and data should be provided to that effect, and whiles I am being restricted in importation the items needed should be made available within, he stated.
“We use Nigeria as an example, they closed their borders, it had ninety percent capacity for the production of rice, they had to hold the bull by the horn close their shops and were able to achieve what they sought to do and, in this regard, there has not been provision of any data”.
He affirmed that the L.I before parliament does not give them assurance that there would be the break of monopoly and does not contain rules; once it is done prices are going to be compared, all it seeks to do is to restrict importation.