Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, has raised concerns about the Import Restrictions Bill proposed by the government through the Minister of Trade and Industry. Ayariga contends that the bill violates provisions in the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), potentially jeopardizing the existing deal, which is crucial to the country’s financial commitments.
Expressing his worries, Ayariga questioned whether Trade Minister K.T. Hammond had consulted with the Finance Ministry before pursuing the legislation, suggesting a lack of coordination within the government. This, he argued, portrays the administration as disorganized and lacking a cohesive approach.
“The proposed Export and Import (Restrictions on Importation of Selected Strategic Products) Regulations, 2023 offends clear provisions of the IMF Bailout Agreement,” Ayariga stated in a press release issued on Wednesday, November 29.
Six business associations have also submitted a petition to Parliament, urging the rejection of the bill. The Joint Business Consultative Forum, consisting of 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), argue that the bill, if enacted, could have detrimental effects on their businesses.
The petition, dated Sunday, November 26, highlights concerns that the legislation may negatively impact the prices of goods, disrupt the free flow of goods, and potentially harm businesses.
The Minister for Trade and Industry is seeking to pass an (L.I) to restrict the importation of 22 strategic products, including rice, poultry, motor cars, iron and steel, and others. The business community, however, opposes the move, citing potential adverse effects on the economy.