In a recent development, some six major business associations have, in a joint effort, submitted a petition to Parliament, opposing the proposed import restrictions bill.
The groups under the umbrella name, Joint Business Consultative Forum include the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA), Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG), and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI).
The bill, which seeks to restrict the importation of certain goods into the country, has been described by the business group as untenable due to the potential negative impact of the bill on their respective sectors.
In their petition, they argue that the proposed import restrictions could result in increased costs for businesses, reduce free flow of goods, and potential job losses, and therefore, urge Parliament to reject the Legislative Instrument (L.I)
“We vehemently oppose this LI and would appreciate its immediate rejection by Parliament to allow for proper consultations and dialogue to take place.”
“We strongly oppose this LI on the following grounds: The price of most products mentioned in the Ministry of Trade and Industry policy proposal will result in serious price hikes, as competition will be severely restricted.”
They stressed, “The Minister is the ultimate decision maker on which companies end up trading in each of these items. This will eventually lead to a monopolistic or oligopolistic position for a few select businesses in the country at the expense of many smaller businesses.”
They also expressed fear that the permit system will hinder the flow of goods from other countries.
“The permit system will definitely hinder the flow of goods from exporting countries to receivers in Ghana since importers would no longer be able to rely on market demands to dictate the quantities to be ordered, as companies will be at the whims of the Minister of Trade and Industry.”
Meanwhile, on Friday, November 24, 2023, Parliament suspended the reading of the bill after the Minority group raised some concerns, arguing that the regulation is not in the best interest of the country.
The Speaker, Alban Bagbin, therefore urged the sector minister to deal with concerns relating to the L.I. before it is laid before the house for further scrutiny.
Read below the full statement by the group: