Minority blocks LI to restrict importation of 22 items

Source The Ghana Report

The Minority in Parliament has kicked against the laying of a Legislative Instrument (LI) on the Export and Import Regulations, 2023 before Parliament by the Minister for Trade and Industry, KT Hammond.

The LI, which seeks to restrict the importation of 22 selected strategic products was opposed by the Minority group for the third time when KT Hammond attempted to lay it before the house.

The sector minister, K.T Hammond was hopeful of laying the LI today after holding pre-laying meetings with the Caucus of the House, however, his hopes were dashed after the Minority vehemently resisted the move.

According to the minority, several business groups had petitioned Parliament to reject the LI; hence, their concerns must be addressed.

The Minority Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, said, “Mr. Speaker, the matter is a very serious one that hinges on the survival of businesses in this country. Mr. Speaker, we are not just objecting, and care should be taken. Let’s reflect on the serious issues that have been raised on this floor, and the minority has raised objections. Which of them didn’t go back to come and fight for this country? And this is one of them.

“Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, six associations—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)—wrote a petition, having confidence in members of this house, that we should take that petition into consideration,” he added.

Although the Trade and Industry minister assured that most of the concerns raised by the Minority had been captured in an updated draft policy document, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, proceeded to defer the laying of the bill to Thursday, November 30, 2023.

Speaker Bagbin directed the Minister to make the updated draft policy document available to members of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee so that all concerns could be addressed before the document is tabled in the House to prevent any further delay.

The Minister for Trade and Industry is seeking to pass an (L.I) to restrict the importation of some strategic products.

The 22 items considered for import restrictions are: Rice, Guts – bladders and stomachs of animals (offal), Poultry, Animal and vegetable oil, Margarine, Fruit juices, Soft drinks, Mineral water, Noodles and pasta, Ceramic tiles, Corrugated paper and paper board, Mosquito coil and insecticides, Soaps and detergents, Motor cars, Iron and steel, Cement, Polymers (Plastics and Plastic Products), Fish, Sugar, Clothing and apparel, Biscuits and Canned tomatoes

However, on several occasions, the Minority scuttled plans to lay the regulation which they say they are strongly opposed to because, among other things, it gives the Minister for Trade unbridled power.

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