L.I to restrict 22 products imports needless–Prof. Turkson
An economist, Prof. Ebo Turkson, has expressed strong reservations about the Trade and Industry Ministry’s proposed Legislative Instrument (LI) on Export and Import, particularly emphasizing concerns regarding the restriction of selected strategic products.
The Economist Prof. Ebo Turkson questioned the rationale behind the policy, drawing a historical parallel, during the era of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s import substitution industrialisation, where import restrictions were implemented and failed.
According to Prof. Turkson such policies should be accompanied by robust support for domestic firms to enhance their capacity.
“It is totally unnecessary. It should not be a policy that should be supported at all. As for import restrictions, it’s okay. We need to make sure that we domesticate our consumption. But this has to be data-driven,” he said.
He pointed out a crucial aspect of the issue by stating that Ghana currently faces a situation where local poultry farmers produce only 5 percent of the demand.
Despite the efforts to support local producers, he noted it would take time for production to improve significantly.
In light of this, Prof Turkson questioned the wisdom of imposing restrictions when both locally produced and imported goods are insufficient to meet the demand.
The economist stressed the importance of a comprehensive, data-driven approach to guide policy decisions.
He suggested that any move towards import restrictions should be thoroughly informed by an understanding of the current production capacity and the ability of domestic industries to meet consumer demand.
On Monday, the Trade and Industry Minister, K.T. Hammond, laid before Parliament an improved version of the LI after it was blocked last week over the lack of quorum and consultation.
The LI will compel importers of 22 restricted items, including poultry, rice, sugar, diapers and animal intestines (Yemuadie) to seek licenses from a committee to be set up by the minister.
The Minority in Parliament has, on three occasions, resisted the laying of the LI on the ground that it was not only dangerous but violated international trade practices and could give too much power to the minister, a situation that has the propensity to breed corruption.
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