The Executive Chairman of the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), John Awuni, has vehemently criticized the government’s proposed import restriction on some selected products, labelling it a “political ploy” to benefit some politicians.
He added that the restriction would exacerbate food inflation and foster rampant corruption.
The Trade Ministry has tabled a bill in parliament outlining the government’s intention to impose import restrictions on 22 commodities, including poultry, animal and vegetable oils, margarine, fruit drinks, soft drinks, mineral water, noodles and pasta and ceramic tiles.
The rest are 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.
The government has justified this move as an effort to stimulate domestic production.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday, November 23, Mr. Awuni strongly condemned the government’s decision, declaring, “This particular move of the government is a shot in their own foot. It is a move to create corruption and create money for a few people.”
He further questioned the government’s rationale behind the initiative, emphasising the detrimental impact it would have on the country’s economy, which is already grappling with high food inflation.
“You cannot say you are restricting the import when you don’t have stock in your warehouses,” he remarked. “Then again it is not as if you have never restricted import. You have already restricted imports to the extent that some of your products have over 60% tax on them. If this is not enough restriction to push your local production, what kind of restriction do you want?”