July 20, 2024
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Restricting imports the right way to go but the approach is problematic – Ricketts-Hagan

A former Deputy Finance Minister and Member of Parliament for Cape Coast South, George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, has expressed support for the introduction of the legislative instrument (L.I.) aimed at restricting the importation of specific strategic products.

He believes the move could contribute to a reduction in the country’s import bill.

However, he highlighted concerns about the government’s approach, emphasising the need for further fine-tuning of the process.

“The import restrictions bill that K.T. Hammond introduced for me is the right way to go but problematic because of the approach that they are using but we all know that we import more than we export.”

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has presented a bill to Parliament outlining the government’s intention to impose import restrictions on 22 itemized commodities, including poultry, animal and vegetable oil, margarine, fruit drinks, soft drinks, mineral water, noodles and pasta, ceramic tiles, corrugated paper and paperboard, mosquito coils, 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, the Minority Caucus in Parliament has mounted a strong opposition to it asking the sector Minister to withdraw for further engagement and fine-tuning.

The Minority MPs have vowed to vote against it until the right things are done.

According to the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the government cannot restrict the importation of goods when there are no ready substitutes.

“If they had created domestic production for some of these items, I would have no issue. But clearly, we know they want to restrict sugar but we do not have a sugar processing plant. The one that Mr Mahama actually constructed, this government is refusing to open it so where is the sugar going to come from?

“What they are seeking to do is to create businesses for their financiers,” he claimed.

He also expressed worry that with the development, traders might not get the license to import products if they do not have ties with the New Patriotic Party.

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