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The government announced the suspension of the Export and Import Regulations 2023 Bill, halting its planned implementation, after facing stiff opposition from the minority in parliament and industry players.
In an interview on Eyewitness News, the President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, assured businesses of readiness to grant the government the needed inputs to achieve the bill.
“They were so bent on passing this law, but we were also so bent on disallowing it. We have also petitioned Parliament through the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, the minority, majority leaderships and the parliamentary select trade and industry committee, we have done all that. And they have seen reason for what we were saying.”
It should not be said that we have to be handed the issuance of permits before we can import. We are not going to do that; it’s an archaic methodology. We will grant the government the needed inputs to achieve this because the onus lies on all of us to ensure that we industrialize.”
He said the country can ban these products if it has attained self-sufficiency.
“If we think we have attained self-sufficiency, all that we have to do is to ban it, that one we don’t have a problem with that,” he opined.
He warned that businesses will not subject themselves to the method of import restrictions, insisting that the move by the government was empty.
“And that it will not help us, and so it’s not going to happen today or even in the future. We will not subject ourselves to that method of restrictions; the whole exercise was empty, and it lacks foundation,” Dr. Obeng stated.
The Legislative Instrument seeks to restrict the importation of 22 selected strategic goods such as rice, guts, bladders and stomach of animals, poultry, animal and vegetable oil, margarine, and fruit juices.
The rest are soft drinks, mineral water, noodles and pasta, ceramic tiles, corrugated paper and paperboard, mosquito coil and 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 decision to pause the bill’s introduction follows widespread criticism from the Minority caucus in Parliament, as well as trade industry stakeholders.