AGI backs Trade Ministry on proposed L.I to restrict strategic imports

Source The Ghana Report

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has backed the Trade Ministry’s Legislative Instrument on Export and Import Regulations, 2023, to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into Ghana.

When the L.I is passed, importers of 22 restricted items, including rice, sugar, poultry, diapers, and animal intestines would have to apply for a license from a Ministerial Committee, before plying their trade.

The L.I has been heavily criticised by the minority in Parliament which has on three occasions prevented the Minister of Trade, Kobina Tahir Hammond from laying the Legislative Instrument (LI) in the house.

However, Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 6th Volta Trade and Investment Fair in Ho, the National President of AGI, Dr Humphrey Ayim-Darkey said the L.I would complement Ghana’s industrialization drive and would ensure healthy competition between local and foreign products.

Dr Ayim-Darkey said “a recent legislative instrument that has been tabled by the Minister of Trade is facing significant opposition, but the Association of Ghana Industries believes that is the way to bring competitiveness to our country and therefore we have pledged our support to the Minister of Trade and the L.I that has been tabled as much as the principle is correct.”

That notwithstanding, Mr Ayim-Darkey called for wider stakeholder consultations on the L.I for an effective implementation process to achieve the desired goals, aimed at promoting the growth of the economy.

“We believe issues regarding implementation can still be deliberated on where the committee and the chair of the committee and the reporting procedures regarding tabling of applications, the processes, and the role of the Minster of Trade and Industry to accept or deny applications for restricted products can be further discussed and brought to bear on our economy”, he said.

He asserted that the National Export Strategy has good prospects in enhancing Ghana’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area, hence its implementation must be well thought through.

The 22 items considered for import restrictions are:

  1. Rice
  2. Guts, bladders, and stomachs of animals (offal)
  3. Poultry
  4. Animal and vegetable oil
  5. Margarine
  6. Fruit juices
  7. Soft drink
  8. Mineral water
  9. Noodles and pasta
  10. Ceramic tiles
  11. Corrugated paper and paper board
  12. Mosquito coil and insecticides
  13. Soaps and detergents
  14. Motor cars
  15. Iron and steel
  16. Cement
  17. Polymers (Plastics and Plastic Products)
  18. Fish
  19. Sugar
  20. Clothing and apparel
  21. Biscuits
  22. Canned tomatoes

Meanwhile, the Joint Business Consultative Forum, comprising associations such as 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), posited that the LI would have detrimental effects on their business operations if enacted.

They outlined “negative impact on the prices of goods, disruption of the free flow of goods, and potential harm to businesses” as some of the effects of the legislation. These were contained in a petition, dated Sunday, November 26, 2023.

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