The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has said that the Import Restriction Legislative Instrument (L.I) that is seeking to ban the importation of some 22 items into the country, when passed will breach the terms under the International Moneyray Fund (IMF) programme that Ghana is currently running.
Per the IMF programme, he said, the government is not permitted to sign onto any policy that restricts trade.
“This beaches the IMF agreement that says Ghana cannot sign on to an import restriction policy,” Dr Ato Forson said during the Moment of Truth series by the National Democratic Congress (NDCo in Accra on Wednesday December 6.
He further said that Ghana does not have the capacity to produce most of the 22 items that have been captured under the L.I.
For instance, he said, Ghana cannot produce the quantity of sugar for local consumption.
To that end, he said the L.I, if passed in its current form, will create problems for the economy.
“Ghana does not have any significant local capacity to produce sugar among other others… neither has the government outlined any incentives to promote the local production of such products,” the Ajumako Enyan Essiam lawmaker said during the ‘Moment of Truth’ series of the National Democratic Congres (NDC) in Accra on Wednesday, December 6.
Earlier, his deputy, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah said this L.I., if passed would breed corruption.
“We are not able to say that as a result of the One-District-One-Factory (1D1F), we are not importing into Ghana one of these products. We are not able to say that because of Planting for Food and Jobs after we spent all these billions, we have solved all these problems. If we want to solve the problem of our import bill, the reasons why this is being done, we must address it honestly.”
“But to go back to a very discredited and outmoded licensing regime that has created corruption. You don’t put politicians in charge of issuing licenses; you know what the outcome will be. We have gone past that,” he said.
The Trade Minister justified the move to restrict the importation.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.
“By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
Find the full list of 22 items considered for import restriction below:
- Guts, bladders and stomach of animals
- Animal and Vegetable Oil
- Fruit Juices
- Soft Drink
- Mineral Water
- Noodles and Pasta
- Ceramic Tiles
- Corrugated Paper and Paper Board
- Mosquito Coil and Insecticides
- Soaps and Detergents
- Motor Cars
- Iron and Steel
- Polymers (Plastics and Plastic Products)
- Clothing and Apparel
- Canned Tomatoes