The Executive Chairman of the Food and Beverages Association (FABAG), John Awuni, has backed the government’s decision to suspend the laying of the Legislative Instrument (L.I) that seeks to restrict the importation of strategic items.
According to him, many industries need to be in operation to adequately prepare the country for such legislation. Until that is done, his outfit would oppose such legislation.
“This is not the news that I was waiting for personally. I think this is news that every Ghanaian was waiting to listen to. We spoke not from a selfish point of view, not from a business perspective but we spoke for the common man; for the voiceless, the kenkey eater, that grassroots person, the waakye eater, we spoke for the widow, we spoke for all those kinds of people. We were expecting that the government would listen.
“Also, when we look on the ground clearly there is nothing on the ground that warrants this LI. The local industry is literally not working, poultry farmers are angry and in the budget, you realize that the Finance Minister has come up with the issue of carbon emission taxes. GH₵100 per carbon emission and if you intend to build local industry to promote manufacturing, how can you come out with such tax? And on the same breath, you are coming up with LI to restrict people to promote local industry,” he said.
He said this in an interview on Joy FM’s News Night on Thursday, December 7, 2023.
The FABAG was part of many organisations that had called for further consultations on the L.I. On several occasions, they raised concerns about the country's inability to locally produce the 22 items the L.I sought to restrict.
However, on Thursday, December 7, the Trades and Industry Ministry suspended the laying of the L.I. According to the Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the move is to allow for further consultations.
However, when asked what the stance of the FABAG will be at the negotiation table, Mr Awuni insisted that the country was not prepared for such a legislation, and until proper structures are put in place, they would oppose the legislation.
“We don’t want that L.I at all because before you come up with that L.I you should have prepared your domestic industry. Like they say, if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The foundation for this L.I do not exist and that is the truth. What foundation have they laid for the rice sector? How much rice do they have in their buffer stock? What foundations have they laid for the poultry sector? The poultry farmers are crying.
- Read also: Government push to ban importation of rice, vegetable oil, others insensitive- Beverages Association
“Some of the day-old chicken they sold to poultry farmers they sold at GH₵36 per day old chicken compared to what they got at the market at GH₵13, so we are telling them that it’s a good policy for us to produce enough to feed ourselves.
"Irrespective of the government in power, I will support technically and professionally any government that will help us produce sufficiently even if it's not full sufficiency but 50, 60 or 70%.
Find the full list of strategic imports the L.I. targeted 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.
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