Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond, has announced the government’s intention to reintroduce the contentious Import Restrictions Bill to parliament in the near future.
Last year, the Legislative Instrument (L.I.) faced significant opposition from members of the trading community, including the Minority in Parliament, leading to its withdrawal from consideration.
However, Minister K.T. Hammond has clarified that the government remains committed to advancing the L.I and its objectives. The proposed restrictions aim to address the influx of inexpensive imported goods into the country while safeguarding the interests of local manufacturers by targeting 22 selected items for import control.
Speaking at the 30th anniversary ceremony of Rose Alumnium Company, the Trade Minister said, “How come every conceivable item that we consume in this country is imported? Look at our Balance of Payment accounts. Just last year, in 2023, we imported over $200 million worth of animal intestines (yemuadie) as food.”
“How can we be importing so much rice? The L.I has just been held in abeyance. I can promise you, we are going to lay it. My enemies were going around saying you are cutting imports and there will be starvation. No president will allow starvation. If the policy would starve Ghanaians, the president would have sacked me, he stressed.
The Trade Minister underscored the government’s commitment to enacting legislation that safeguards the interests of stakeholders in both the importation sector and local manufacturing.
Drawing inspiration from successful models in countries like Malaysia and Singapore, the Minister highlighted the importance of protecting domestic businesses to enhance their global competitiveness.
The Import Restrictions Bill, which aimed to regulate the importation of 22 selected items, was put on hold in December 2023 pending further review in parliament.