Don't Kick Against Govt's Food Imports Restrictions - Prof. Osafo Pleads With GUTA & Others

Professor Joseph Osafo has urged government to hold a stakeholder consultation with the Joint Business Consultative Forum comprising the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana and four three other associations regarding its L.I to restrict food imports into the country.

The Minister of Trade, Kobina Tahir Hammond, is pushing for the legislation which he believes will help the cedi appreciate as well as grow local businesses.

When the bill is enacted, food commodities such as rice, fruit juice, margarine, cement, fish, sugar and 16 other products that the government terms "strategic products" will be affected by the restriction.

But the Joint Business Consultative Forum which comprises the abovementioned business associations including the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG), and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), argue the bill will be detrimental to their businesses.

They have therefore laid a petition before Parliament urging the House to reject it.

Outlining their concerns, the associations further argued that the imports restriction "will eventually lead to monopolistic or oligopolistic position for a few select business in the country at the expense of many smaller businesses. The permit will definitely hinder the flow of goods from exporting countries to receivers in Ghana since importers would no longer be able on market demands to dictate the quantities to be ordered as companies will be at the whims of the Minister of Trade and Industry".

Discussing the issue during Peace FM's "Kokrokoo" show, Professor Joseph Osafo, a Senior Psychologist, pleaded with government to pause the passage of the bill until they have held broader consultations with the stakeholders and ensured there is a understanding between all entities.

He also admonished the business associations not to rubbish the bill.

"I plead with GUTA and the other stakeholders not to kick against it but I agree with them that this is too hasty. Let's hold a stakeholder consultation" to address the issues, he said.